How Australia can offset it’s own CO2 production

9 Sep 2019

 

If Australia wants to make a difference to Climate Change we need a different approach other than attending another UN Climate Summit.  Also, reducing our CO2 output alone is of limited value considering the amount of carbon being emitted by other countries (World Carbon Emissions).

Also while Australia has limited renewable energy options, with 86% of Australia’s energy still coming from fossil fuels converting to electric vehicles, has little benefit of reducing CO2 ouput, as currently we are still using fossil fuels to charge them.

What Australia and the world needs to make a meaningful difference is an aggressive carbon storage strategy to offset the remaining worlds carbon production.

Methodologies suggested (though some are in the development stage) to accomplish this are:

  • Grow trees,
  • store carbon in the soil, pump it deep underground –geo-sequestration, 
  • produce limestone –exothermically reacted with metal oxides – producing stable carbonates, and
  • algae of bacterium storage.

None of the carbon capture or storage operate on an industrial scale in Australia, though there are a few experimental sites in Australia. Carbon capture linked to a power stations increases energy usage by 40% that would increase power prices in Australia even more.

One of the quickest and cheapest way to store carbon is by growing pine trees (pinus radiata) as they grow rapidly compared to hardwoods (with a bit of gene manipulation could be bred to grow faster)  On average, one cubic metre of plantation softwood logs contains sequestered carbon equivalent to 787 kilograms of CO2 and about 1 tonne of CO2 is captured to produce 1 cubic metre of wood containing 0.27 tonnes of carbon(State of the Forest Report 2013) . Alternatively,  planting a fast growing diversity of hard wood trees you would increase environmental diversity for native animals, and plants to inhabit.

An area 51,080 hectares (8% the area of Perth)  planted in trees will offset a years worth of Australia’s CO2 emissions.  Currently, 160,000 hectares of land is planted blue gums.  Australia has plenty of land to offset the World’s CO2 production.

With $2 billion the  Clean Energy Regulator sets up a Emission Reduction Fund  and carbon farming initiative with 473 projects that carbon farm 192 million tonnes of CO2.  To put that in perspective in 2017 Australia had 402 million tonnes of fossil CO2 emissions per year, and China had 10,877 million tonnes per year in 2017.  An ongoing financial constraint is the expense of monitoring carbon storage refer to A Guide to Monitoring Carbon Storage in Forestry and Agroforestry Projects.

$2billion dollars would plant a lot of pine trees and would be easily and cheaply monitored for growth compared to monitoring natural forest growth, not to mention the income from forestry and wood products.

Meanwhile, while this opportunity remains unfulfilled, what is the Government and the WA EPA doing? Writing GUIDELINES for the mining industry and attempting to get the industry to accept them: refer to Emission Reduction Politicking. Which is achieving very little in reducing CO2 levels in the world as compared to direct action potential of planting trees.

Which is achieving very little is reducing CO2 levels in the world as compared to direct action of planting trees. I read was reading Phillip Adams in the Australian newspaper last weekend who was on Global Warning panel of experts in the 1980’s who predicted Global Warming, and if they had started planting trees then instead spending an unprecedented amount of time attending the multiple UN Conferences year after year, a huge CO2 sink would exist today.

If you want to be abreast of the EPA’s policies effecting the mining industry and enjoy discussions around environmental topics, you should attend LandTrack Systems’ Environmental Essentials training course happening November 7-8, 2019.