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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
The Hon. Gary Nairn MP

1 March 2005

New tools to track greenhouse gases


Land managers will be able to monitor the effects of farming and forestry on greenhouse gas emissions using their own computer, after the release of two new products today.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr Gary Nairn announced the products today.

Launching the National Carbon Accounting Toolbox and Data Viewer at the annual ABARE Outlook Conference in Canberra, Mr Nairn said the products would help land managers make informed decisions about how to sustainably manage their properties.

"Almost a quarter of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions come from forestry and agriculture, from activities ranging from deforestation and harvesting, to the continuous cultivation of soil," Senator Campbell said.

"Land managers face decisions daily that must balance production and environmental protection," Mr Nairn said.

"The National Carbon Accounting Toolbox will help in making these decisions by tracking greenhouse gas emissions, and identifying less emissions intensive land-use practices.

"For example, it will help answer questions such as whether plans for planting trees to stabilise soils, protect water quality and provide habitat will also help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere."

The Data Viewer is a unique 30-year visual record of landscape and vegetation change in Australia since 1972 generated from satellite images.

It allows land managers to zoom in on any location in the Australian continent, including their property, to analyse such things as changes in tree cover, areas for revegetation, where planting has been effective and the extent of areas affected by fire or drought.

It also provides access to climate statistics for specific regions, including average rainfall and temperature trends over that time.

"Together, these products have excellent potential for project or regional land-use planning," Senator Campbell said.

The Toolbox provides ready access to the advanced computer modelling used in the National Carbon Accounting System - Australia's world leading system to monitor greenhouse gas emissions from the land.

These products were developed by the Australian Greenhouse Office in conjunction with the CSIRO, the Australian National University, Geoscience Australia, and supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Media inquiries:
Sophie Drew (Gary Nairns office) 02 6297 3952
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's Office) 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia