If businesses are going to develop they have to understand their
accounts – and in the near future that will mean carbon
accounts as well as financial accounts - that was the message
from the CLA, the rural economy experts, at last week's Oxford
CLA Policy Director, Prof Allan Buckwell, told a packed
fringe meeting at the conference that over time farmers
and land managers had learned to manage profit and loss
accounts and then nutrient accounts - now they would have
to learn carbon accounting as part of all future business
Speaking at the launch of a new software package – Carbon
Accounting for Land Managers (CALM) – Prof. Buckwell
said that the industry had to demonstrate that it was being
responsive to the challenge of climate change.
"We have to be able to measure exactly what levels
of Green House Gas we are storing before any realistic
options of carbon trading can be developed – and
we have to be able to do that with a system which meets
agreed international criteria but which can be applied
to individual farm businesses," he said.
The CALM calculator has been developed by the CLA in conjunction
with Savills and supported by the East of England Development
Agency, and the Crown Estates. It is a free, on-line, business-based
calculator which shows the balance between annual emissions
and carbon sequestration of the key greenhouse gases associated
with the activities of the land sector.
Prof. Buckwell said it was important to understand that
it was a business - not a product -based calculator. The
software is currently undergoing rigorous trials which,
when complete, will offer a publicly available, on-line,
business-based calculator of annual flows of GHG, emissions
and carbon sequestration from a defined land-based business.
CALM follows the widely used and internationally agreed
IPCC methodology with the accounting guidelines approved
by Government for business to understand, quantify and
manage GHG emissions.
"The science is complex and developing quickly, the
beauty of this software is that it can be easily adapted
and progress with the science. It is highly adaptable and
extendable and is the most sophisticated land-based business
calculator developed. Our aim is not, however, to be at
the forefront of science but to be at the highest level
of agreed government methodology to enable our members
to be at the forefront of carbon trading," he said.
Environment Minister, The Rt. Hon Hilary Benn MP, congratulated
the CLA and Savills on the development of the calculator
and said that it was an essential tool which would enable
people to do the accounting.
CLA President Henry Aubrey-Fletcher told the meeting that
CALM was an attractive, easy to use, highly sophisticated
calculator which produced a robust result but which was
capable of accommodating the inevitable developments in
the new art of GHG accounting. It was, he said, a further
demonstration of the commitment that the land-based sector
had to adapting to climate change.
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