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Lack of climate policy failing farmers: FCA

Beef Central, June 7, 2019

FARMERS for Climate Action is calling on the Federal Government to develop a coherent policy framework underpinned by appropriate RD&A investment to curb greenhouse gas emissions following the release of a new report.

According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory update for December 2018, Australia’s emissions rose to a record high of 557.7mt (excluding land use data), up 0.6 percent from 2017.

Agriculture and electricity emissions fell, but not enough to offset transport and LNG emissions increases.

Verity Morgan-Schmidt

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said farmers were increasingly concerned that the Federal Government was still failing to take action on the single biggest issue threatening the Australian agricultural sector.

“As the country grapples with drought, water shortages and the aftermath of the hottest summer on record, it’s abundantly clear. Acting on climate change is not a nice-to-have or optional extra. It’s a strategic and productivity necessity if we want to keep producing food and fibre for the world.

“Farmers around Australia are sending a clear message, Federal Government politicians, particularly those representing rural Australia, have an economic and moral imperative to act.

“At a state level, Queensland is hosting Climate Week and the Victorian Nationals has pledged to support farmers (among others) to adapt to climate change.

“We welcome this acceptance of science and applaud this sub-national leadership, but we also desperately need the Federal government to recognise that it’s greenhouse gas emissions that are behind climate change.”

Lucinda Corrigan

Farmers for Climate Action Chair and Bowna beef producer Lucinda Corrigan said her farm and community was dependent on a safe climate.

“Having just been re-elected, the Coalition Government now has an obligation to follow the lead of farmers and rise to the challenge of climate change.

“Like most Australian farmers, I’m already feeling the impact of climate change on my farm in the form of more frequent extreme weather events. We’re adapting, but our ability to adapt has limits. We have no more time to waste,” Ms Corrigan said.

“It is clear that the community has moved ahead of the politics in this country. The losses from climate change are higher than the cost of action.”

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of farmers, agricultural leaders and rural Australians working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are part of its solution.

Asked what steps it believed the Federal Government needs to take the address increasing emissions, FCA provided the following response:
“First, we require a clear and coherent policy designed to deliver a rapid and orderly transition to clean energy within the domestic economy. Over recent years, the economics of energy have dramatically shifted to create a situation where solar and wind energy underpinned by firming technologies is now the cheapest form of new build energy. Despite the economics, the policy environment continues to be plagued by politics.
“Second, the Federal Government has thus far failed to address the rising emissions in the transport sector (approx 18 percent of our total emissions) – with Australia now lagging many years behind the rest of the world when it comes to vehicle emissions standards. Instead of embracing an incentive and regulatory framework to foster innovation and deliver certainty for the market, the lack of coherent policy (and recent election fuelled fear-mongering) in this space has left Australia’s transport emissions continuing to rise.
“Third, one of the drivers for the increasing emissions trajectory is our LNG exports. At present, we lack a policy and regulatory framework to adequately address emissions in this sector.
“Finally, we come to agriculture – one of the few sectors delivering a decrease in emissions. This reflects the seasonal conditions (ag emissions almost invariably decrease during times of drought), and to some extent – the positive progress towards decoupling agricultural productivity from emissions through industry led initiatives (ie MLA’s CN30 & the Beef Sustainability Framework).
“At present, Agriculture’s reduction in emissions demonstrates an industry that is both bearing the brunt of a changing climate and to some extent ‘carrying the can’ for the broader economy. It’s worth noting that the longer we delay economy wide emissions reduction (ie transport, electricity, stationery energy etc), the higher the risk of a greater burden being passed on to agriculture.
“Farmers for Climate Action strongly believes that the implementation of a coherent policy framework underpinned by the appropriate RD&A investment is key to empowering the agricultural sector to continue to proactively manage risk and deliver both climate adaptation and mitigation. That’s why we’re calling for a national strategy for climate change and agriculture, and a robust agriculture focused climate research, development and adoption program to support agricultural productivity and increased engagement in carbon markets (and potentially natural capital markets in coming years).”
Source: Farmers for Climate Action

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Comments

  1. Ron Harris, June 14, 2019

    Spot on Lucinda.
    I wish the pollies would catch up and show a bi partisan approach to this issue.
    Lets start with the passing of the full NEG.

  2. Sue Grant, June 8, 2019

    Here’s one farmer’s “coherent policy” on fighting climate change.Withdraw from Paris,terminate the RET,stop all subsidies to unreliable wind and solar,close down all government money burning, climate change agencies.Use the billions thus saved to build thirty 1000MW AP reactors which would supply 75% of the national base load.All three levels of government could help farmers fight climate change by not stealing our money, deregulating and giving us our irrigation water back.

  3. Paul Franks, June 8, 2019

    I gave up reading once I read the bit about wind and solar. I just then knew it was just another group with fantastical ideas on energy generation in Australia. Nuclear is the only option that is currently viable. Too many people look at their home electricity bill and extrapolate that as being how much electricity the country uses. They do not see the big electric motors that power lifts, that drive the cement mills, the huge electrodes aluminium smelters use that make the home welder look like a matchstick. That is all hidden from view.

    There is nothing anyone will be able to do to stop the environmental onslaught that will continue to plaque agriculture in Australia, especially the beef industry. An article today in an urban Queensland newspaper was about airline travel and the emissions it puts out. The comments in the article are what I expected. Leave airlines alone and pick on someone else.

    People are not going to voluntarily lower their standard of living by reducing emissions when they can put that cost onto someone else. Preferably someone far away and unable to make a noise. Now I wonder who that could be.

  4. Mike, June 8, 2019

    As farmers it is imperative that we operate in an environmentally appropriate manner to provide for a sustainable future where our families can prosper and fund continued improvement and enhance the prospects for the next generation. When it comes to climate change I’m not sure the recent weather patterns are any different to what has happened over the last 200 years, you only have to listen to older farmers whose family have maintained meticulous records of the weather for over 100 years. This will show that what we have experienced in recent years is not new but a revolving pattern that goes beyond one generation. So the FCA should continue to push for improved government action while making sure not to create an uncontrollable beast that itself makes agriculture unsustainable through ridiculous intervention. In short FCA doesn’t speak on my behalf.

  5. Charles Nason, June 8, 2019

    This initiative only addresses one cause of climate change
    History tells us that “natural” climate change has had profound effects on recorded human civilisations
    The Holocene optimum ( 8000 years ago ) was 2 degrees warmer than now . Why is it called an optimum ?
    The mega eruptions of Toba ( 75 K years ago ) possibly the cause of the human genetic bottle neck , and Tambora ( 1815 ) the year without a summer had huge effects on human well being
    What caused the 300 year drought ( about 3000 years ago ) at the end of the late bronze age?
    The population of Rome went from 1 M people to 100 K when it fell about 460AD at the onset of a cooler period
    Was this just the sack of Rome by the Visgoths , Vandals or was it the result of a cooler period when they came south in search of food and the corresponding decreased grain production which supported Rome ‘s large population?
    The difference in the Kimberley indigenous art forms suggests a 1500 mega drought about 5000 years ago . There seems to be a corresponding lack of evidence of civilisations in this period elsewhere
    The Milankovitch cycles also cause cycles of warm and cold and the recently discovered 20 K climate cycle in the Sahara which is now in its dry period
    There seems to be many “natural” causes of climate change which may be more significant than the anthropogenic causes where the only solution is adaption , damn quick and unable to wait for a government committee
    Why was the fear in the 1960-70’s of a cooling period and now a warming period?
    If we are being asked to produce more food from less arable land for an ever growing population , then maybe nature has provided the means with warmth and rising CO2 – a natural greenhouse effect!
    Maybe nature knows best?

  6. Will graham, June 8, 2019

    I wholeheartedly agree. Change is difficult, but it is imperative if we wish our farmland to be productive and the oceans full of fish.

  7. David Thornton, June 8, 2019

    Animal farming accounts for 18% of ghg emissions and all Transport combined is 13%. The 70 Billion animals we breed for eating every year uses vast amounts of resources and they consume 80% of all grain and Legumes( +1/3 of all commercially caught fish) enough food to feed a population of 10 Billion people!. As for Transport, we NEED to use the world’s ICE Vehicles to Capture Carbon by running them on Carbon Negative Algea Bio Fuel. Thereby creating millions of local climate saving jobs, and making hundreds of £/$/€ millions that would revitalise local/regional economies, and would generate enough money to fund the transition onto the other low tech solutions, reforestation etc.

  8. Willy Ens, June 7, 2019

    Thank ‘GOD’ or whom ever you might want to credit for this!
    Maybe my comment on here will actually get posted and not discarded due to my ‘non-Australian’ postal code … (in this case … insert country of choice lol! )

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    Sincerely,
    Willy Ens
    CEO En-Sense Solutions.

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