Software zeros in on carbon pollution

Jul 26, 2013

Local researchers are developing an online tool that would allow farmers to monitor their greenhouse gas emissions and virtually test ways to reduce carbon pollution.

The software calculates a grower's footprint by analysing production data - such as fertiliser, insecticide and machinery use - against detailed of the land.

Curtin University environmental scientist and lead study author Deborah Englebrecht says the system takes into account the many different processes used in growing crops.

"It looks at everything that would go into the production of producing wheat, from pre-farm processes to just before disposal," Mrs Englebrecht says.

"The important thing about this system is that they (the farmers) will be able to determine mitigation measures.

"This is the first time that remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and life cycle assessment systems have been integrated into one tool."

Australia's agricultural and livestock industries are the nation's largest emitters of global warming methane and nitrous oxide.

Earlier this month, the federal government said it plans to axe a tax on carbon and bring forward the launch of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to 2014.

The scheme will place a cap on the amount of carbon businesses are allowed to emit into the atmosphere.

Currently farmers are excluded from paying , but under an ETS they will be able to earn and trade by storing carbon or reducing their .

Mrs Englebrecht says her team worked with the WA Department of Agriculture to study 24 paddocks in the Wheatbelt and found that were one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gasses on those lands.

The research will be published this month in the scientific Journal of Cleaner Production.

She says her tool will give farmers the ability to input local and imported fertilisers into the system to quickly and easily see which brands work better to reduce their carbon footprint.

"We would like to put the system onto an ipad or iphone so they could input their geographical coordinates and insecticide use in and right there and then they would be able to generate their carbon footprint," Mrs Englebrecht says.

She says the project will be completed within a year.

Explore further: Obama says 'no greater threat to planet than climate change'

Related Stories

The cucumbers carbon footprint in focus

Jun 11, 2013

Since the outbreak of E. coli in Germany and Austria 2011 resulting in suspicions against ecological cucumbers, student Michaela Raab has been interested in the environmental impacts of the cucumber. The overall aim is to ...

Recommended for you

China's struggle for water security

21 hours ago

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Canada revises upward CO2 emission data since 1990

22 hours ago

Canada revised its greenhouse gas emission data from 1990 to 2013 in a report Friday, showing it had higher carbon dioxide discharges each year, and a doubling of emissions from its oil sands.

Climate censorship gains steam in red states

Apr 17, 2015

While plenty of people found humor in the recent news that officials in Florida and Wisconsin are censoring state workers' ability to talk about, much less work on, climate change, other states are not necessarily laughing. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.