Greenhouse gas management in northern Australian savannas
: opportunities and risks for indigenous land management

  • Robert Macgregor Law

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    The management of greenhouse gas emissions is an increasingly important focus of land management in northern Australia. Indigenous people own and or manage much of the tropical savanna estate across WA, NT and Queensland and are well placed to provide services in the form of greenhouse gas sequestration and abatement. The emerging carbon offsets market provides new livelihood opportunities for Indigenous people such as through savanna fire abatement, forest management and avoided deforestation, grazing land management and revegetation. How these opportunities are realised will be strongly influenced by climate change policy developments at the international and national levels and the quality of science underpinning offset estimation and verification. In particular, a framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol post 2012 should seek a more comprehensive approach to accounting for land based mitigation activities, and permit greenhouse gas accounting rules and definitions that are more regionally appropriate to the tropical savannas. Further uncertainty surrounds the introduction of a carbon price into Australian climate change policy, and the future of domestic offsets under the proposed Carbon Farming Initiative. It is important that stakeholders in northern Australia understand the implications of negotiations at the national and international level and the risks associated with different policy scenarios. Similarly, climate change policy needs to manage the goal of emissions reduction with Indigenous aspirations, making necessary the full engagement of Indigenous land managers in the planning and implementation phases of policy development and offset projects. Ethically, it is important that government agencies seeking to meet emissions reductions targets through constraining land use development, adequately support and compensate Indigenous people for any opportunity costs associated with development forgone on their lands. This thesis examines the current settings and future scenarios for climate change policy in savannas of northern Australia, and explores some of the opportunities and risks for Indigenous land managers wishing to engage in the carbon offset market.
    Date of AwardMay 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPeter Whitehead (Supervisor) & Owen Stanley (Supervisor)

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