Agriculture and emissions trading: The impossible dream?

15 Nov 2008

The ability to measure emissions accurately and affordably is a pre-requisite for including any source of emissions in a robust ETS. While it is relatively easy to measure energy combustion emissions, this is not the case for agriculture. The three main gases produced from agricultural enterprises are carbon dioxide, methane from the digestion systems of livestock and nitrous oxide from chemical processes and microbial activity in agricultural soils. The amount of agricultural emissions depends on a number of factors, many of them not anthropogenic (human-induced) in nature.

The Government wants to include agriculture in the CPRS because it sees the market as being the lowest-cost method of reducing emissions. Further, it considers that the exclusion of agriculture will place a larger burden on those sectors that are included. This paper argues that the Government’s rationale is incorrect; including agricultural emissions in the CPRS is problematic for several reasons.

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