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Australian carbon farmers go on the front foot to prove success of projects.

More than sixty Climate Friendly partners voluntarily release data to prove the success of their projects, a landmark step in push for greater transparency.

Michael Marshman, grazier – Bourke, NSW

“I’m proud of what I’m achieving as a carbon farmer. I’m releasing this data because I’m concerned misinformation around carbon farming could undermine a critical national effort to draw down CO2 at a time when the threat of climate change demands urgent action.”

Sasha Treloar, cattle farmer – south-west Queensland

“Regenerating our land is an enormous privilege and something we take seriously. A national data sharing platform is urgently needed to avoid confusion about the impacts of carbon farming.”

The voluntary release of information comes as the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) publishes Carbon Estimation Area (CEA) boundary data. While increased data transparency and implementation of all recommendations of the Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) is welcome, these farmers say releasing boundary data alone is not enough to measure a project’s impact.

Skye Glenday, Co-CEO of the carbon farming project service provider Climate Friendly, says farmers deserve to have their projects accurately assessed.

“The CEA boundary data can’t tell you much,” Skye Glenday says. “It is like having one piece of a thousand-piece jigsaw”.

“Laying a boundary snapshot over a publicly available satellite image will lead to overly simplistic analysis, for example by trying to calculate the height of a tree from a shadow, instead of using high precision Lidar.It risks wrongly underestimating the achievements of carbon farming projects.

“To measure impact you need access to billions of pixels of spatial data, validated with high precision drone and field data, and integrated with land management and livestock information covering the 10+ years before and throughout a 25-year project life.

“It’s why our partners are putting more information about their projects out there. They’re confident of their achievements, witnessing how their management changes are driving forest regeneration on their properties.”

The information being released by farmers includes their project’s rules, when forest regeneration began, key modelling parameters and the geospatial and land management data used to assess eligibility and monitor carbon drawdown.

Call to accelerate establishment of national environment information platform

To ensure maximum transparency and to build public trust and confidence, Climate Friendly supports the urgent establishment of a national environmental information platform, as recommended by the recent Independent Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) Review and the Independent Review of the EPBC Act.

“Until there’s access to reliable and common data, parties will continue to reach different conclusions about the effectiveness of carbon farming projects,” Skye Glenday says.

“The Federal Budget had allocated well over $100 Million for data collection and coordination across different agencies and portfolios. It’s vital this funding is consolidated to establish a national environmental information platform.

“Until then a growing number of our carbon farming partners are committed to providing as much transparency as possible to help stakeholders and the public make a better assessment of their project achievements.”

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