Carbon farming at the Native Title Conference

We’ve just come out of a session on carbon farming at the Native Title Conference in Coffs Harbour, NSW.

Carbon farming has been on the agenda at previous conferences, but what made it different this year was that it has now become real.

Last week, 4 projects in the Kimberley received about 223,000 credits for their first set of project reports. If the credits are sold at anything near the current compliance price of $24 per tonne, that’s nearly $5 million in value. Very real.

Polly Grace from the Kimberley Land Council and traditional owner Chloe Nulgitt gave a neat account of how they had built the projects from the ground up, leaning on their existing ranger and land programs, to something starting to resemble businesses trading in an environmental market. Chloe Nulgitt outlined how they want to spend some of the money from their credits on employing a CEO and supporting their corporation. Very real and impressive.

Phew! So you can make money from carbon farming, away from government and grants, and participate in environmental markets.

Will it continue?

We will have to see how the market evolves. Rowan talked about our Fair Carbon idea of packaging up these kind of projects for the voluntary market if there is no carbon price for a time. And to keep things interesting, he also showed the savanna enrichment video, perhaps the next generation of projects in the Kimberley growing bush food and carbon at the same time? Hopefully we can get further trials up this year.

For the record, I also talked about the myriad of tenure issues arising in Indigenous carbon projects and how projects have navigated these requirements so far. Importantly, the KLC showed that you can use the beneficial native title provisions in the carbon farming legislation to help you on the way. Now I have to put it all together in an Aboriginal carbon tenure guide.

Better get on with it.