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Putting carbon back in the land is just a smokescreen for real climate action: Climate Council report

Martin Rice and Will Steffen write in The Conversation (29.9.16) about a new Climate Council report which argues that land storage of carbon emissions – a central plank of the federal government’s Direct Action climate policies – is less effective than other means of emissions reduction.

‘Just as people pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, the land also absorbs some of those emissions. Plants, as they grow, use carbon dioxide and store it within their bodies.

‘However, as the Climate Council’s latest report shows, Australia’s fossil fuels (including those burned overseas) are pumping 6.5 times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the land can absorb. This means that, while storing carbon on land is useful for combating climate change, it is no replacement for reducing fossil fuel emissions.

‘Land carbon is the biggest source of emission reductions in Australia’s climate policy centrepiece – the Emissions Reduction Fund. This is smoke and mirrors: a distraction from the real challenge of cutting fossil fuel emissions.’

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