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PM says improving soils will reduce climate change risks

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has highlighted practices to improve carbon levels in farmland soils. This will set our nation on the path to net zero emissions.

Soil carbon sequestration, like that found in minimum tillage sowing, has been shown to assist in reducing greenhouse gases. Practices like these are increasingly forming part of Australia's approach to net zero emissions. 

President Biden committed to cutting US emissions by 50% by the end of the decade at a virtual Earth Day summit. Several other countries also made similar commitments to specific dates for net-zero carbon emissions. At the same conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia is on a “pathway” to zero emissions.

He’s announced a $566 million investment in new technology like green steel, small modular nuclear reactors and soil carbon sequestration to help reach Paris Agreement targets.

Research by the US Carbon Management and Sequestration Center suggests the world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidised upon exposure to air to become CO2. 

Soil carbon sequestration restores the balance of carbon in soil, which benefits composition and water retention, while decreasing reliance on fertiliser. It also increases resistance to floods and drought

The introduction of the National Soil Strategy, which is currently under review (with the opportunity to input to policy), shows the government is ready to commit, with a commitment set to come in the upcoming budget for R&D to help to assist the Agriculture sector with a reduction in carbon emissions. 

Menzies Research Centre Chief of Staff suggests improving community knowledge and fiscal reward will see the practice increase.

“[The education] gap can be filled by the strategic redirection of money from the Future Drought Fund and the Emissions Reduction Fund to support peer-to-peer education schemes for farmers as part of its investment in drought resilience,” Mr Mathias suggested in the Australian Financial Review

“By strategically deploying some of the money held in these funds, substantial progress could be made in building drought resilience and reducing atmospheric carbon across Australia’s 400 million hectares of farmland.

Government’s biggest contribution, however, will be to increase the hip-pocket incentive to farmers by streamlining and simplifying the application of Australian carbon credit units.”

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