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Analysis and Comment (21)

If deforestation is cut down, the world’s forests could act as a large net sink for carbon emissions. If deforestation is cut down, the world’s forests could act as a large net sink for carbon emissions. Flickr/sobriquet.net

Explainer: how much carbon can the world’s forests absorb?

You are walking through the bush when you see an enormous tree trunk, tens of metres long, lying across the forest floor. Imagine you and several dozen friends lifting it by hand. Now you’ve literally…
Restoring our southern wetlands as carbon farms would have many additional benefits to the ecosystem and the public. Restoring our southern wetlands as carbon farms would have many additional benefits to the ecosystem and the public. Catherine Lovelock

Carbon farming could restore Australia’s southern coastal wetlands

Australia’s southern coastal wetlands are more diverse than most people realise. In a recent paper, Paul Boon suggests they provide valuable ecological services that exceed those of inland wetland ecosystems…
Our national parks are full of forests - we could be claiming carbon credits for managing them better. Our national parks are full of forests - we could be claiming carbon credits for managing them better. Tatiana Gerus

Which of our forests should be managed for carbon?

The Australian Government has recently committed to a second round of the Kyoto Protocol to run from 2013-2020. In doing so, Australia is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5…
The deadline for the US budget sequester —which will see across-the-board spending cuts of $US 85 billion implemented over the fiscal year — is rapidly approaching. The deadline for the US budget sequester —which will see across-the-board spending cuts of $US 85 billion implemented over the fiscal year — is rapidly approaching. AAP

No silver lining to US budget sequester

The first thing you should know about the sequester is that nearly everyone agrees that it’s a bad idea. In fact, that was the point. In the summer of 2011, with congressional Republicans refusing to raise…
The Coalition’s proposed alternative to “the great big new tax” relies on storing carbon in trees and soil. The Coalition’s proposed alternative to “the great big new tax” relies on storing carbon in trees and soil. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Will the Opposition’s Direct Action Plan work?

The Coalition has promised that if it takes government in September, it will get rid of the price on carbon emissions established by the Australian Labor Party. In its place, the party will implement a…
An early season burn in Arnhem Land. Low intensity fires decrease greenhouse emissions and increase carbon stored in trees. Brett Murphy. An early season burn in Arnhem Land. Low intensity fires decrease greenhouse emissions and increase carbon stored in trees. Brett Murphy.

Savanna burning: carbon pays for conservation in northern Australia

Fire and biodiversity have a complex relationship in northern Australia. Tim Flannery and others blame the current northern biodiversity crisis, at least in part, on changed fire regimes. Improving fire…
Victoria’s alpine forest is burning more often, changing the landscape and reducing its ability to store carbon. Victoria’s alpine forest is burning more often, changing the landscape and reducing its ability to store carbon. AAP Image/Australian Workers Union

Ash to ashes – what could the 2013 fires mean for the future of our forests?

In the high country of Victoria, firefighters are presently battling a large bushfire that is moving through the forests south of Harrietville and past the second highest mountain in Victoria, Mt. Feathertop…
By opting for restraint in his state of the union speech, Obama presented his ideas not as bold initiatives to revive the liberal tradition, but as pragmatic proposals with widespread bipartisan support. By opting for restraint in his state of the union speech, Obama presented his ideas not as bold initiatives to revive the liberal tradition, but as pragmatic proposals with widespread bipartisan support. EPA

Obama extends a light hand of liberalism to Americans

Barack Obama opened his fourth state of the union address to Congress with words from another Democratic president, John Kennedy: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…
Cement manufacture is a substantial producer of emissions, and we’re using ever-more concrete. Something has to change. Cement manufacture is a substantial producer of emissions, and we’re using ever-more concrete. Something has to change. Eduardo MC/Flickr

Eco-cement, the cheapest carbon sequestration on the planet

Cement production is one of the dirtiest industrial processes on the planet. It produces nearly 9% of global carbon emissions. This increases every year with the extraordinary demands for building materials…
It may not be a silver bullet, but biochar has a lot to offer farmers (and the atmosphere). It may not be a silver bullet, but biochar has a lot to offer farmers (and the atmosphere). sillypucci/Flickr

Backing biochar: the Australian Government’s role

Evelyn Krull, a research scientist at the CSIRO, asked in these pages whether biochar could save the planet. Eighteen months have passed and although research efforts continue, still no meaningful quantities…
Could charcoal be our climate saviour? Could charcoal be our climate saviour? Oli R/Flickr

The charcoal challenges: fire and climate dynamics

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is co-ordinating a new venture to tackle short-lived global warming agents such as black carbon. Should we be paying more attention to black carbon? Yes…
There are limits to the amount of carbon dioxide plantations can absorb. There are limits to the amount of carbon dioxide plantations can absorb. David Clarke

How much carbon can trees absorb?

Australia’s agriculture and forestry - land-based abatement - can make a valuable contribution to lowering Australia’s greenhouse emissions. The scale of contribution has been widely discussed. But the…
Without monitoring and evaluation, the Biodiversity Fund will be another missed opportunity. Without monitoring and evaluation, the Biodiversity Fund will be another missed opportunity. Omega Man/Flickr

The Biodiversity Fund – another missed opportunity?

Australia’s Biodiversity Fund was announced in July 2011 as part of the “Clean Energy Future” package. We welcome the expenditure of almost a billion dollars over the next six years on biodiversity conservation…
There’s a lot of carbon in there. There’s a lot of carbon in there. John Tann

Is using native forests for energy really carbon-neutral?

Australia’s forest conflict gets easier to solve as every day passes. In reality, the conflict will solve itself if the government can just resist reviving the environmentally and economically inferior…
Forest agreements were among the positives from Durban. Forest agreements were among the positives from Durban. CIFOR

Deforestation agreements - a climate change success story, sort of …

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: Amongst the general brouhaha of the Durban Climate Change Conference, progress of sorts on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus measures…
Could more plantations help reduce emissions? It depends if they’re done right. Could more plantations help reduce emissions? It depends if they’re done right. esagor

Forest carbon and the Durban climate conference

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: One of the topics under discussion at Durban is the role carbon farming and other forestry measures could have in reducing emissions. With the possibility that negotiations…
Sequestration of carbon dioxide is safe, effective and it’s happening right now. Sequestration of carbon dioxide is safe, effective and it’s happening right now. CO2CRC

Carbon capture and storage – a vital part of our climate change response

One of the biggest challenges in our fight against climate change is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the energy sector. Approximately 87% of current global primary energy supplies (and 67…
Simple seagrass can answer some complex climate problems. Simple seagrass can answer some complex climate problems. Joanne Saad

Our home is girt by sea; our land abounds in nature’s carbon sinks

Reducing carbon emissions is necessary, but what about the carbon that has already been released into the atmosphere? Many countries are turning to “biosequestration” for the answers: using nature - including…
Planting trees on farmland can offset emissions, but does it add up? Planting trees on farmland can offset emissions, but does it add up? Fabio Strozzi/flickr

Trees or crops: will carbon farming be the end of agriculture?

Planting trees in cleared agricultural landscapes is one way for the land use sector to help offset emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide. But will it displace agriculture? Establishing trees is a robust…
It doesn’t look like much, but a lot of hopes rest on biochar. It doesn’t look like much, but a lot of hopes rest on biochar. Flickr/visionshare

Can biochar save the planet?

In our efforts to address climate change by avoiding or sequestering CO₂, we have shown a lot of interest in “engineering” solutions (such as carbon storage through pumping and storing CO2 underground…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (6)