Thursday, November 1, 2007

Water expert makes carbon plea

Coalition member, farmer and engineer Rod Zemanec makes a case for a strong link between soil carbon credits and water. (Rod Zemanek, the Managing Director of Sydney and China–based Predict International, is an international specialists in the field of hygienic handling of liquids to ensure they are fit for human consumption. In recent times he has made his name designing and constructing breweries in both Australia and China.)


I read daily the ongoing carbon debate and the fainthearted efforts to arrest the problem of CO2 buildup in the world’s - OUR – atmosphere.
Strange solutions are bandied about.
“Clean Coal” is not sustainable it means means use more energy and resources to separate CO2 from the hot exhaust gasses and collect it as a compressed liquid state to be pumped/injected into ground aquifers where it can wait for some catastrophic event to again to release it into the atmosphere and become a menace once again. A solution which can only be done by Big Corporations funded by Big Government with money from small people who can’t resist the higher energy charges and taxes. NOT A GOOD SOLUTION! Talk about a BIG boys club.
“Bio-fuels” are not sustainable as they take arable land and transfer food production resources to energy production in a world which is becoming overpopulated and is already short of food resources to generate energy and fuel to cater for a small minority of high energy users in the population under the false pretence that this could be sustainable.
“Nuclear Power” generation is not sustainable it requires expenditure of vast sums of money and scarce resources to build multiple nuclear power stations around the coastline to generate energy of which more than 30% will be wasted and transferred into seawater as the principle cooling medium adding an extra burden to the ocean warming effects already seen. These stations will eventually become obsolete and cost more to disassemble that they cost to build
“Reduced Energy Consumption” is not realistic in a world whose population is expanding rapidly and whose peoples, through global communications only dreamed of a few decades ago and the incredible marketing expertise of a few global corporations, demand better “standards of living” and all that entails – you have to be dreaming

“Utilize the Carbon Resource” is the only sustainable and commercially viable solution. A process which is immediately available using green plants and solar energy to collect carbon from the atmosphere

Carbon is the source of out planets life, there is virtually no living organism which is devoid of carbon in some form and as such it is the key to life on our planet along with energy from the sun plus water, nitrogen and a few key trace minerals.

Carbon over time has moved around the world in different balances in the atmosphere, sea and in solid form as carbonate minerals and so called fossil fuels.

The effects of current high levels in the atmosphere are disturbing to our preferred life due to climate changes so we need to manage the balance
This must be done sooner rather than later as the tipping point for major climate change is near of has been reached the solutions canvassed above cannot hope to make an effect in less than 50 years.

The consumer orientated, market driven world will continue to increase in population, increase its energy consumption from fossil fuels and continue to emit increasing quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere until it reaches a terminal state for humans - no government or treaty or law will change that situation until fossil fuel begins to become so expensive due to shortage of supply that no one can afford to use it.

That point could be too late for us humans

The international arguments relating to who will do what will be interminable and only direct action and leadership by Australia can show the way and break the cycle

Carbon in the atmosphere can be taken up by plants NOW it is happening in massive amounts today it requires sunshine, water and land

Carbon secured in this way can be used in part for food and part can be stored in the soil INDEFINITELY in the form of organic carbon PROVIDED THE WATER CONTENT OF THE SOIL IS MANAGED

In Australia we have an abundance of land, water and sunshine we have the soil and minerals and the ability to transport resources to the point where they are required.

We currently have a problem with managing our water and we are high CO2 emitters per head of population

We are in a prime position to set up to contribute capitalize on the problem of atmospheric CO2

The solution is as follows
1. Government sets up and funds a Water and Carbon Authority (WACA)with power to regulate and monitor ALL water and carbon in our land
2. WACA resumes all water rights across Australia and issues temporary credits to current holders who can continue to use water for a transition period
3. WACA develops and sets out a protocol for water, energy and carbon management which
a. issues water licenses and water rights to agribusinesses, industry and households
b. allocates energy on a current best practice scale to agribusiness, industry and households monitored by purchases of power and fuel
c. Provides carbon credits for energy consumers who reduce energy by reductions their best practice consumption settings
d. require water consumers to capture carbon at a rate of 1% per year over a 10 year period and subsequently maintain an ongoing organic soil carbon level of say 10% or buy carbon credits as an equivalent
4. WACA will arrange for a carbon monitoring program to setup and be provided to each participant on a base cost basis.
5. WACA then calls for tenders from all sources requiring water allocation licenses and existing users can use their credits to bid for water under the WACA protocol new users can bid by using cash or by buying existing credits from existing water licensees
6. Water would be re-allocated according to a new license system which balances available water and strategic national needs including environmental flows
7. The new protocol would ensure that water was used to capture carbon and earn users additional income for the licensee from carbon credits as well as agribusiness.
8. Water licenses should become free or actually earn an income for high carbon capture agribusinesses
9. The new protocol would ensure water was used for the most key strategic needs and most cost effective purposes.

10. WATER consumers and domestic users without access to land such as industrial users or people in flats etc would need to make arrangements to capture the required carbon by other means such as buying shares in or establishing agribusinesses or developing land where water rainfall is sufficient to establish a carbon capture operation without the need to use WACA water. This would subject to environmental constraints and encourage additional carbon capture in non irrigated lands and development of new regions.

11. ALL registered users would receive carbon and energy audit services as base cost from WACA and these charges would be offset against their carbon credits by WACA so they should be in surplus.

12. ALL water used in Australia from ALL dams, groundwater and rivers would be regulated by license under this protocol including domestic water, industrial water and agricultural water

13. WACA will manage and sell all Australian carbon credits to the highest bidder from worldwide sources and use this income as funding for its ongoing operation and to repay the original Government setup costs AND DIVIDENDS FOR CARBON CAPTURE

14. WACA will issue the surplus proceeds to its stakeholders the water users and balance their accounts according to water used and carbon captured from the atmosphere or through reduced energy consumption.

15. WACA can continue to sell credits to all Australian energy producers and other carbon emitters for a modest sum and thereby allow them to continue in business producing low cost power for as long as they can get reliable commercial supplies of fossil fuel

16. WACA will reinvest part of its income into renewable energy operations to supplement the fossil fuel energy supply as it dwindles or plants require to be replaced due to obsolescence.

17. WACA will invest in water resource management by developing new water catchments and pipelines and the management of exiting water systems such as those to provide potable water and those which collect water and carbon from existing sources such as sewerage, industrial waste and putrecible garbage.

18. Carbon collected from sewerage and putrecible waste - garbage - in this way could be shipped by rail as back loads in grain trains to fertilize cropping land for grains and oilseeds for example, especially if the grains were used for bi-fuels

19. WACA will invest in water and the development of new sustainable water schemes to collect new water from say, northern regions and store or relocate to develop new agribusiness and industrial businesses. WACA would undertake such schemes as Ord River dam for agribusiness development and water for sites such as Olympic Dam and geothermal energy production for example.

This scheme will make an immediate impact on reducing atmospheric carbon and become a major income earner for Australia based on its natural and sustainable resources of sunshine water and land area.

Australia can continue to export fossil fuels at market rates in the sure knowledge that it is recovering all the resulting carbon emitted and charging for the service through the carbon credits

Australian land will be better managed and gradually become carbon rich and hence fertility will increase allowing a greater agricultural output through managed use of water and carbon capture

As the worlds population grows toward its sustainable limits more carbon will be needed in the surface soil to grow the food and provide the organisms we will need for ongoing sustainability so we will need the current transfer of carbon from fossil fuels to organic carbon in our soils and organisms for our sustainability as terminal population levels

Australia will be better able to play a role in feeding the growing world population and will be able to export technology to other parts of the globe where sunshine land and water can be managed for increased carbon capture and agricultural benefits.

Billions of dollars in capital set to be wasted in unsustainable works such as clean coal, nuclear power and desalination can be saved and can be invested in the sustainable carbon economy for profit and the benefit of mankind.

Rod Zemanek

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