Digital services for carbon farming markets

A factoryProject vision: to enable farmers to participate profitably in greenhouse gas mitigation and maximise the benefits to the land from carbon markets

Can you imagine carbon markets not only supporting Australia in addressing climate change but also boosting livelihoods and leading to great environmental outcomes? Australia’s carbon markets could help farmers achieve best management practices, steward the land and supplement farm incomes. Individually, Australia’s 140,000 farmers are small but collectively results could be large.

A typical farming enterprise does have opportunities to manage or increase vegetation, boost soil carbon, avoid methane and nitrogen emissions, and improve energy efficiency. Together, these farm carbon opportunities have huge abatement potential for Australia.

Making decisions about carbon farming

Despite strong interest in carbon markets and the Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund and Carbon Farming Initiative, uncertainty about risk versus value, transactional costs and lack of trust are a deal breaker for most commercial farmers.

With tools to make informed decisions, lower market barriers and a way to reduce transaction costs, carbon farming could become a significant component of Australia’s overall emissions reduction efforts into the future.

At Digiscape, to help make this happen, we are using some existing clever analytics and high-tech decision tools, and developing others as well. We’re also working on the challenges of managing risk and confidentiality, ensuring social appropriateness and boosting confidence in the carbon market.

Our first software tool that helps the land sector realise their abatement potential

Pronounced ‘Look-see’, LOOC-C is a software tool that allows land managers to quickly assess the GHG abatement options for a specific land area, including estimates of abatement quantity such as Australian Carbon Credit Units. By supporting an assessment of specific paddocks or farm areas, LOOC-C helps producers discover and evaluate their options for participating in a project through the Emissions Reduction Fund and other markets.

How LOOC-C works

Using paddock location and user-provided land use and land management information, LOOC-C estimates GHG abatement via an emission factor database and GHG emission models (e.g. FullCam). The result is a list of eligible carbon project types and estimates of Australian Carbon Credit Units that a project may generate.

The estimate is refined in a more detailed assessment using additional information and can be used to assess options and potential outcomes of a carbon project.

What’s next…

We are releasing the LOOC-C tool in late 2020. The version will include enhancements such as:

  • representing possible co-benefits and dis-benefits associated with carbon farming projects
  • calculating a baseline of whole-of-farm emissions, broken down by source so that users can identify improvement areas.

Be part of the product development process

We are currently evaluating the LOOC-C prototype with producers and land managers. Contact us to get involved.

We want to help build a digital market place where buyers can better uncover and share the stories of how carbon farming is helping Australian farmers.

Read more about our work in carbon farming

Co-benefits and greenhouse gas abatement

Recognising and valuing carbon co-benefits

Why renting, rather than buying, carbon might help mitigate climate change

A human-centred design approach linking farmers to options in the ERF

Evolving Australian carbon markets

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  • Peter is a principal research scientist, research leader and manager with over 20 years research, industry leadership and management experience. He leads Digiscape’s carbon farming work.