Opinion: carbon trading – best scheme to lose your farm on since the 80’s offshore debt debacle

George King, 15/03/2023

George King, Cattle Australia director

In this contributed article, New South Wales producer George King argues that carbon markets are shifting wealth away from family farmers. Mr King is also on the Cattle Australia board. Opinions expressed in this item are his own.





IN 1933 the United States went away from a gold standard for its currency detaching the monetary system from physical gold. With a fiat currency back by sentiment alone the credit culture was set loose.

In 1944, forty-four countries met and agreed on the Brenton Woods system of pegging all their currencies to the US dollar with the dollar once again being backed by gold at a rate of $35 /ounce. No reserve ratio was set as to how many dollars could be created for each unit of gold.

On the 15th August 1971 the Brenton Woods system was overwhelmed and President Nixon decreed the USD was no longer convertible to gold. Instantaneously every currency in the world became paper fiat currency.

Money is no longer the value of goods traded, it is the value by which they are traded. One of the only true physical assets in the world is farmland, it will provide shelter and sustenance and a constant source of multi-generational wealth creation through capital appreciation.

As it is an asset rich and cash poor business, the families which have survived the generations have been forced to live within their means instead of pursuing costly passions beyond the income of a season and commodity driven business.

The temptation to get into a too-good-to-be-true scheme is too much for many. Selling carbon is leaving yourself wide open to the liability of having to repay that carbon at a much higher rate at some time in the future. Speculating the future of your farm on being able to hold carbon in the soil in an unknown future of crippling bureaucratic rules, droughts, invasive species, a disease outbreak and irrational policy changes.

Danger in futures markets

Soil carbon has up to $160 per tonne value per year to a farming business, selling it at the current glass-bead prices may see you operating in a futures market which writes its own rules.

Perhaps even worse, farmers are going into a dark alley chasing corrupt money when selling carbon. It is a fugazi, trading an invisible natural gas which is critical to all life on earth and has limited GHG properties compared to water vapour.

If Carbon was a problem we should stop emitting it, anything else is arguing at what speed we should drive the car of humanity off the cliff at. The world stopped the production of CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbon) propellants in the late 1980’s due to its ozone depleting effects.

Now you can emit as much carbon as you could possibly want as long as you pay a ‘carbon tax’, the money you spend on carbon schemes may be used to protect a forest which was never going to be cut down, or to lock up farmland so it can burn twice a decade, to have good farm lands degraded so as to get a ‘low’ baseline and then brought back to where they were, to pay for fires in the Top End which were going to be lit in any event, to destroy the fabric of outback communities by locking up land and displacing farming families, the list goes on.

The carbon trading schemes are a great tool for the commercially sophisticated to transfer ownership of real wealth to themselves

Discussing Carbon reductions at a global level is ludicrous whilst the developing nations are bringing their people out of poverty with carbon emitting energy.

The logic of Carbon Trading is so flawed it is embarrassing. One party says it will ‘store’ Carbon in trees or in the ground while the other party emits the same amount of Carbon? No Carbon is reduced it is just shuffled from one side of the spreadsheet to the other creating unearned and mostly corrupt money with zero environmental benefit.

Net-Zero is an apt term for this scam. The concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere is about 0.04 percent, if this level fell to 0.02pc  there would not be enough plant food to sustain agriculture. Populations would starve to death and cause endless environmental destruction in the process. No environment is going to be fixed at the atmospheric level, this work can only be done at the soil level.

Farmers control some 80pc of the land mass with family farms accounting for 90pc of farms and the remaining 10pc being corporates.

The carbon trading schemes are a great tool for the commercially sophisticated to transfer ownership of real wealth to themselves and in doing so turn multi-generational farm owners into peasant farmers.





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  1. Bill O’Connell, 17/05/2023

    Great article, George. Your words are so true. The whole carbon scare is a scam.

  2. James Hegarty, 27/03/2023

    You can’t scrutinise farmers that are having a crack at carbon trading there’s plenty of highly educated farmers that are doing the research and implementing on farm. They are improving soil health, biodiversity, improving the water cycle whilst increasing carrying capacity and producing healthy food. Let’s face it operating costs at all time high we need other sources of income. If you want more young people to get into the industry we need to be looking at ways to lower cost of production whilst increase income. Carbon may not be the answer but just one thing you need to look at. As an industry we need to be open minded and look at all the options

  3. Andrew Lytton-Hitchins, 18/03/2023

    Well said George! Great article.

    There’s so much more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye. We are all being called to wake up, have greater awareness and see the truth, before we are all enslaved even more than we currently are within a corrupt system designed and manipulated by the “banksters” and “elites” that have always ran and controlled the money systems.

    As one of the elite banking Rothchilds once said, “Whoever controls the money, controls the world!” These elite banking families have in the past and continue to control the world by owning the private banks that create and control the money systems we are all operating within.

    Carbon trading and carbon taxes are just another disguised and manipulative way of transferring more land and money to the same “bankers” and elites that run and control all other aspects of life within “the Matrix” we are currently required to live within.

    What would it take for this to change???

    And what will it take for more of us to wake up, see the lies, corruption and dysfunction for what it is and create new systems and ways of life and living that actually create greater for not only the soil, land, plants, animals, water, air, etc, but for everyone that lives on this still beautiful planet???

  4. Paul Saward, 18/03/2023

    Well said George, when will the rest of the country wake up, our current government policies are leading us over a cliff. When I went to school we were taught about how carbon was part of the cycle producing the oxygen we need, I don’t believe that natural cycle has changed. Thanks for speaking up

  5. Robert, 18/03/2023

    Excellent points. It was Bretton Woods rather than Brenton woods though, named for the town in New Hampshire where the conference was held.

    • George King, 19/03/2023

      Well spotted Robert, you are right. It is Bretton Woods.

  6. Neal Simpson, 18/03/2023

    I believe that these schemes usually begin with good people having good intentions. However, as the saying goes “if you put blood in the water, you will attract sharks”, and we find that the sharks end up being the only ones that truly benefit.

  7. Leo Moss, 18/03/2023

    Hurray for speaking out.

  8. John Cameron, 17/03/2023

    Very well said. Carbon trading was never designed to make small players rich. Everything the government gets its fingers in is about control.
    Our years of dairying showed us the benefits to our soil of carbon sequestration, but the government could never say they had a stake in that. When they do, they demand control.

  9. Colin Paxton, 17/03/2023

    The Truth then you have politicians, professional Truth distorters.

  10. John Lawson, 16/03/2023

    “Soil carbon”, said the presenter at an LLS seminar last week, “provides 75% of plant available P”.
    Well, maybe that was optimistic and it’s only 50% of P (and 85% of N), but clearly, the black stuff
    means dollars to farmers because N and P associated with soil C grow plants much faster than you’ll
    ever see in a lifetime of increasing atmospheric CO2 “plant food”.
    You might say CO2 is invisible plant food, but I never hear farmers saying, “if only there was more
    plant food in the air, I’d have more money in the bank”. It’s C in the soil that drives money in the
    bank, not only because organic C includes vital nutrients N, P, K, and so on, but because it also
    improves soil structure and water holding capacity.
    The fact is, no soil carbon farmer is trading “an invisible gas”- they get paid in terms of actual organic
    carbon increase in the soil. For every tonne of black C added to the soil, there is an equivalent 3.67
    tonnes of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. In the soil carbon method, the ACCUs earned by
    farmers are expressed in CO2 equivalent, but they are assessed by real measured tonnes of C.
    Yes, the Bretton Woods system fixed the government-mandated currency of US Dollars against a
    nominated mass of an element on the period table (gold), enabling markets to trade in that
    currency. Let’s rejoice then, that ACCUs are a currency related to an element on the period table
    (Carbon) and they can be banked and traded to the benefit of farmers.
    A massive opportunity is opening up to farmers now, who by increasing their soil fertility will
    naturally increase soil C, and if they’re smart, and if their soil is responsive, they may easily double or
    triple pasture productivity while having carbon emitters fund it.

    • Phil Cranney, 28/03/2023

      Hi John Lawson, would you mind sharing who from LLS, or which town that event was held in that claimed the “75% Plant available P comes from soil carbon”
      That is incorrect.
      A big chunk of N comes from the labile fraction of soil C, but not P.

    • Natalie Hick (Williams), 20/03/2023

      Well articulated. I agree that Carbon is a tangible asset for farmers. Putting it back into the landscape is no different to developing land with other forms of infrastructure like fences and waters etc. Advanced farmers and graziers are doing this anyway….why not monetise it at the same time.

  11. Tony, 16/03/2023

    Once upon a time there was air pollution and this was bad. Then a collective of geniuses rebranded it as greenhouse gases and carbon pollution and managed to monetise them, opening up a brave new world by making it debatable that the previously known as air pollution is bad ,and all our environmental problems were solved.

  12. Sally Kirby, 16/03/2023

    Hi George, don’t you think it is a good thing that big business are having to think about their carbon emissions? Not only think about their emissions, but measure and pay for them. On the flip side it is an opportunity for farmers, custodians of the land, to be paid for managing the land to store carbon so it does not end up in the atmosphere. I am talking about soil carbon through grazing management (as opposed to what I think you are denigrating – the woody weed carbon capture).
    I am as skeptical as you about the methods and implementation of all of these schemes. But I do think it is vital that we do something about land management. Any incentive to motivate farmers away from overgrazing and running things harder and harder to squeeze the margins is good in my opinion.

    • George King, 16/03/2023

      G’day Sally, I understand and appreciate your sentiment in having business sharing the environmental repair. Unfortunately I can’t see any effort at the atmospheric level ever being anything more than greenwashing. I totally agree with you about doing something about land management, you are right, we need to incentivise and motivate farmers to increase their soil carbon amongst many other environmental markers.

  13. Chris Blunt, 16/03/2023

    Cracking article George, the arguments put succinctly.
    As you alluded to, the whole carbon market in my opinion is a scam open to corruption and ultimately leading to the destruction of valuable protein producing land. ‘Net Zero Intelligence ‘, as I often refer to the nonsense.

  14. Robert Edwards, 16/03/2023

    You echo my concerns, every time I bring this up I’ve been assured it’s safe & sound. I liken these schemes to the water ones when they disconnected water from the land title. This allowed the parasites to come in. The Carbon schemes are doing the same thing.

  15. Philip Hughes, 16/03/2023

    A great articular George – good to see someone who is prepared to say it as it is.

  16. Geoff Solly, 16/03/2023

    My word George, this carbon trading is not good for most Australians and I’m sure, (or I hope) most Australians realised that as soon as they studied and realised it was nothing but smoke and mirrors. The same case will eventually be proven for exporting our primary assets of mineral and gas overseas to be used to value add to products.

  17. Alex & Diana Cowlishaw . Crookwell., 15/03/2023

    Another great article George, if only these climate fanatics could realise that we need carbon to sustain the plant life that provides them with the food & fibre that enables them to survive.
    The carbon stored by farmers should only be for the benefit of that property & carbon trading should not be available to anyone else & especially not to corporations overseas .
    It will end up like the trading of water rights which also should only be available for use on the property to which they were originally granted & should remain with that property as an asset.

  18. Michelle Finger, 15/03/2023

    What an absolute breath of fresh air!!
    I agree with 100% Mr King & I applaud you for your honesty & bravery.
    Please please tap MLA on the shoulder & point them in a new direction. Thank you.

  19. Louisa Kiely, 15/03/2023

    Hi George – As you know I respect everything you and your family has done in continuing to ensure the resilience and productivity of your land. And for your local community. I was in awe of your country way back when you had Christine Jones there and I attended a field day. I am wondering what your solutions are? What would you like to see happen in the face of the climate change challenge, even if you believe it a scam? Its a reality in the market as a risk. Is it something you need to address anyway? How should farmers be protected? Always up for a discussion, Regards, Louisa Kiely

    • George King, 16/03/2023

      G’day Louisa, great comments, thank you. I don’t believe climate change is a scam, to the contrary I think world environmental decline is very real. I do think dealing with environmental problems at an atmospheric level is a scam. I would like to see the world’s environmental problems dealt with at the soil surface level. Change will happen, it will be driven by passionate, caring and good people like you and Michael. Keep up your great work.

  20. Ross Groves, 15/03/2023

    Very well said George and I would agree with your comments wholeheartedly.
    There are NO long term benefits for any farming families or regional towns that will come out of carbon farming and it is all smoke and mirrors being promoted by snake oil salesman.

  21. Peter Dunn, 15/03/2023

    Finally, finally, we have someone not beguiled by the dollars. Keep talking George King.
    Having said that, it is unfair to criticize the thousands of producers who have done it so tough for so long, and who grabbed the ACCU dollars to help to survive and provide for their families. As food producers they should never have found themselves in that situation, but why they did is political history.
    History however will also record the failure of governments to recognise the long-term impact of carbon trading on our farmland, our farm ownership structure with particular emphasis on farming families, and on food production overall. In the euphoria of the worthy ambitions of renewables and zero emissions, the downsides are accumulating.

  22. John Carter, 15/03/2023

    Well explained George King. We are being played for suckers yet again.

  23. William Murray, 15/03/2023

    Thank God that someone is talking sense. The hypocrisy of the proponents of carbon trading and those whose take advantage of carbon trading to offset their emissions is surely evident to any rational person. It makes absolutely no difference except to give companies that feel-good feeling that they are doing something to protect the world from climate disaster. Carbon dioxide is a gas necessary to ensure the survival of those who live and will live on this planet.

  24. Greg Brown, 15/03/2023

    Excellent summary . Seller beware

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