The half-day forum was addressed by Richard McKellar, Perth, from CALM¹s Greenhouse Unit and Justin Jonson, Perth, of Greening Australia.
BIG chairwoman Linda Lee, Jerramungup, representing the Fitzgerald River Catchment Initiative Project, said the first step was to understand climate change and carbon emission and how they would affect farmers and rural communities in future.
³Regarding climate change, the thing is to know what questions to ask and what you are going to do about it if it has changed radically,² Mr McKellar said.
³There¹ll be a change in the balance of energy, something that can no longer be ignored.
³It could seem that no matter what we do carbon levels will continue to rise.²
Mr McKellar said if forecasts of a reduced average rainfall throughout WA¹s South-West proved to be correct, the challenges ahead would not only be to farmers but also to the natural environment and habitat of the south-west.
³Coastal settlements will become vulnerable to rising sea water levels.
³Infrastructure as we know them will be at risk, including forests.
³The potential impact on our horticulture may require a search to begin for new plant varieties.
³Rainfall decline could result in atmospheric changes occurring.²
Mr Jonson spoke at the forum as a member of Greenhouse Australia, which he described as a greenhouse broker.
He holds a Masters degree from the University of WA, from where he did research across 30,000ha in the central wheatbelt¹s Wallatin Creek catchment.
³Five per cent of the catchment have been revegetated by farmers,² Mr Jonson said.
³We found percentage varies with the tree species.
³We studied 23 varieties of tree ‹ the half the total biomass was trees.
³Over the 15 years of tree growth our examination showed that only 43pc of the costs of growing them was paid by the $12.50t we might have received for their carbon content.
³Other quotas for carbon dioxide equivalent are as low at $7.50/t.
³Trees alone won¹t save the planet and finding a technological solution takes time but there are secondary benefits from planting trees, water use, conservation of soil and aesthetics.²
Mr Jonson said renewable solutions were barely economic. Protocol requires companies to be accredited to gain the prices quoted on carbon credit markets in NSW and Chicago.