Australia can meet carbon targets by land offsets: report
A new report on Thursday said Australia can meet its carbon emissions target by doing nothing more than claiming offsets from re-vegetation of cleared land, regional forest agreements and ending logging of native forests.
Australia has set its target of a 5 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020, and the study said the federal government has deliberately underestimated these land offsets to justify a weak target in international negotiations.
The study from the Australian National University (ANU) showed Australia will be able to claim around 12 million tons of offsets each year as a result of the regional forest agreement process of the 1990s.
It said 100 million tons of offsets can be claimed as a result of falling deforestation rates in Queensland.
"While not all of this potential is achievable, the research suggests that land-based offsets are likely to far exceed the government's estimates and that a significant proportion of these offsets will come at zero or low cost," the report's author Andrew Macintosh said in a statement released on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, Australia Associated Press reported that two independent studies from Canada and Scotland suggested greenhouse gas emissions are linked to more frequent heavy rainfall.
The studies, which appear in the journal Nature, highlight the impact humans are having on extreme weather events, and come less than a month after a set of major flooding events around the world.
In responses to the studies, former Australian governor-general Michael Jeffery threw his support to put a price on carbon in Australia.
"I believe we need to lead the responsibility and consensus for change with the major CO2 emitters," he told a land use forum at Parliament House of Canberra on Thursday.
"Regulating a fair price on carbon is important in providing an incentive and enabling the essential investment and change."
The federal government's climate change committee will meet in Canberra on Friday morning, and is expected to discuss a timetable for a carbon price.