Future Options for Carbon Management in Deserts. Craig James General Manager Commercialisation and Communications, Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, Alice Springs, Australia ABARE Conference Alice Springs 29 October 2008. Australia’s deserts. Australia is
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General Manager Commercialisation and Communications,
Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre,
Alice Springs, Australia
ABARE Conference Alice Springs
29 October 2008
Arid and semi-arid areas
Predicted percentage change in annual
rainfall by 2050, with respect to 1990 levels
Trends in annual maximum, mean and minimum temperature 1910-2002
Green Paper: Investing in research and development on low emissions technologies
Government financial investments ($1.89B)
Australia’s National Carbon Accounting system (NCAS):
“system to account for greenhouse emissions from land-based sectors” (Garnaut 2008)
Grass roots movements
50/50 by 20/20
Community owned wind farmsNational and international setting
Deferring greenhouse gas (GHG) release
Reducing net CO2 release from fuels (biofuels)
Producing green energyHow can deserts position for a carbon economy?
Possible with suitable ground water resources but limited.
Economically uncompetitive (?)1. Bio-sequestration
Source: Department for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Encourage long-lived perennial plants growing on natural rainfall
A new view of the woody weed problem in historically-overgrazed lands
Low growth rates
Low carbon / ha but orders of
magnitude more hectares
Economics unknown1. Bio-sequestration
Sequester carbon (stock) or change emission regimes
Value in these as off-sets2. Deferring GHG release
Photo courtesy Dick Kimber
Changes in fire regimes to lower emissions and store more carbon
WA study to commence
Pilbara region. Arid regions have carbon sequestration potential (Alchin 2007)
Need to evaluate options for rangeland management (eg Heckbert 2008)
More accurate information of rangeland carbon storage and sink potential neededFire management
Photo courtesy CSIRO
Vegetation recovery under lighter grazing regimes to increase stored carbon in perennial vegetation
More stored soil carbon
Rotational grazing could achieve these goals
Does extra infrastructure create more CO2 than is saved?
Cost/benefits are unclearStrategies for carbon grazing
Telemetry technologies bring management data and control of equipment into the homestead.
Less need to drive around – half the number of km per year on bore runs
10,000 km not driven = 3300kg of CO2
3,000 km not driven = 990 kg of CO2
Savings of $25,000-$35,000 in fuel costsPastoral management systems
Transport fuels equipment into the homestead.
Power generation (back-up to solar, wind)
Creating biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels
Use ground water resources to grow perennial vegetation
Harvest biomass to make biofuels (seed oil etc)
Renewable local production instead of non-renewable fossil sources
Already being explored by DAFWA
SA Farmers Federation guarantee pure bio-diesel 100% carbon neutral.
planting of native mallee trees which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow, acting as a "carbon sink". www.farmersfuel.com.au3. Biofuels
CSIRO Reports findings equipment into the homestead.
The cost of producing biofuels relative to petrol and diesel is the fundamental factor influencing the commercial viability of biofuels
Sustainability is a critical issue for the biofuels industry - there is no point in replacing one unsustainable system with another
Department of Rural Industries, Research and Development Corporation: Biofuels in Australia – an overview of issues and prospects June 2007Exploratory studies
Desert natural resources equipment into the homestead.
Geothermal energy4. Producing green energy
Central Australian Geothermal Energy Province, with connections into South Australia and Queensland and connecting the national gridGeothermal
Source: Geodynamics. IRM Company ShowPage