So far the below have been covered off in the article Soil Carbon – Part 1;

  • What a carbon credit is
  • How credits generally are measured against regulated standards.
  • What you can do with credits when you have some.
  • The difference between emission reduction and sequestration
  • Permanence
  • What a carbon project is
  • The difference between Net Zero and Carbon Neutral.

This time, lets delve into the detail of getting involved in doing a project.

1. Start with an expression of interest to CarbonLink™. This is a simple step of providing some basic information such as property name(s) and area, generic soil types and rainfall. This information allows the CarbonLink™ staff to quickly evaluate the viability of a project for you. There is no cost to this for you.

2. You will be contacted to discuss the potential. It is not in anybody’s interest to encourage the uptake of projects that are not going to work or be viable. During these early conversations, there is an opportunity to discuss all your questions and issues.

3. Project planning. If the economics and practicality stack up, you can proceed to the planning stage. This involves a preliminary contract, developing the mandatory Land Management Strategy (LMS), submitting an application to the regulator, detailed mapping and site planning and developing a sampling plan. That will culminate in a quote. There is a lot of work in this stage so there will be a fee, which is rolled into the baselining cost if you proceed to a contract. During this phase it will also be determined which other types of projects you may be able to participate in e.g. forestry projects, emissions reduction projects etc. These will normally add to income.

4. You are the project proponent. This means that you own the project and the credits and they go into your account. Many other aggregators become the proponent. While that is simpler for you administratively, the credits do not go into your account first and the commission will be higher.

5. What are your risks? There are some risks to take into account. These include:

    • Know who your project supporter is. I will include a full checklist in the next update.
      • How long have they been in the industry?
      • Do they have the experience, science and systems to support your project for 25 years?
    • What happens in a drought? The CarbonLink™ long-term experience and data shows that you may not sequester much carbon in a drought, and you may lose some from the surface soils, but new carbon stored at depth, remains.
    • What happens if I want to sell the property at some stage? Firstly, a sequestration project goes with the land, not the land owner. A new buyer therefore has the opportunity to take up the project and continue to earn income, or to cancel it. If it is a grazing property and they want to cancel it, there is unlikely to be any issues if they maintain it for grazing. If however it was a grazing property and the new buyer wants to plough it and crop it, they may be required to redeem the credits sold off that parcel of land. This is the obligation of the new owner. The regulator has quite a loose clause around redemption after a project is stopped which will give them teeth if the system is abused but leeway to let normal business resume.
    • What happens if I don’t sequester carbon? If this happens early in a project, we would just wait longer and measure again. If it happens after credits are sold, you are given time to sequester more carbon and “make good” on the deficit with your own credits. E.g. this could happen with a tree project being burnt out. Income would cease until the vegetation got back to where it was and then resume again.

6. Is it likely to be worth my while? The data below comes from 6 properties which have sequestered carbon over the last 5 years and one which did not. I have compared the EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Tax) from carbon on a per ha per annum basis to the same EBIT from Cattle production (where available).

These cell-grazed properties have been through 2 years of one of the worst droughts in a century. Despite this and other constraints such as flood, fire (E was completely burnt out in 2019) and disease (5 of the 7 have had pasture dieback through the period), soil carbon sequestration rates have exceeded expectations.

C Projects Table
C Projects Table

Of the 7 properties, totalling 20,892ha, only property A has so far failed to sequester carbon. A deep dive into the data indicates that this is a result of the equations, as the property had an increase in % SOC. This is yet to be rectified.

The data, currently being audited, indicates the severe impact of the drought, followed by very high cattle prices reducing restocking, on net profit per ha. The 20/21 FY data was included because that year represented the highest cattle prices in history in Australia. The production EBIT still failed to match the Carbon EBIT.

Read  Dr Terry McCosker’s Soil Carbon – 101

Read  Dr Terry McCosker’s  Soil Carbon – Net Zero v Carbon Neutral

Soil Carbon – 5 questions to ask a carbon farming aggregator 

For more information on Carbon farming talk to CarbonLink™


Dr Terry McCosker OAM

Dr Terry McCosker OAM

RCS Co-Founder


Have a listen to ‘The Financial Bloke’s’ Podcast interview with Terry McCosker, discussing the initial findings of one of the world’s largest Carbon Credit trials and more.

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