Australia’s land carbon measuring system goes global

The Australian Government’s carbon measuring system has picked up the CSIRO Partnership Excellence Award.

The National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS), designed by the Department of Climate Change in conjunction with the CSIRO and the Australian National University, aims to gauge greenhouse gas emissions from forestry, land clearing and farming.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the tool underpinned Australia’s national emissions accounts and assisted in devising strategies to cut emissions from land management practices.

“The Australian Government developed the National Carbon Accounting System in partnership with the spatial industry, the private sector and State governments,” Senator Wong said.

With deforestation worldwide occurring at a rate of about 13 million hectares each year, there has been an increasing pressure on developing countries to expand the capacity to account for their forest carbon.

Senator Wong said the NCAS provided a practical answer to the issue, in line with the decision made at the Bali Climate Change Conference to include deforestation in developing countries in a future international climate change agreement.

She said an increasing number of overseas governments and organisations were seeking to implement the technology.

“Indonesia has expressed its intention to build an Indonesian national carbon accounting system and Australia is currently working with a team of Indonesian scientists and officials as part of the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership.

“We recently worked with China to help it build a carbon accounting system for the Guangxi Autonomous Region as a pilot project for a future national system.

“The National Carbon Accounting System was also selected from an international search by the Clinton Climate Initiative to be the basis for a Global Carbon Monitoring System, which aims to use carbon trading to benefit the environment and help alleviate poverty in the developing world,” she said.

The system incorporates remote sensing, information from satellite images, greenhouse gas accounting methods, and modelling of changes in the environment to monitor and account for emissions from land-based sectors.

In August, the NCAS also picked up the Sherman Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

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