National Farmers' Federation

Farm sector welcomes commitment to a long-term emissions reduction strategy

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the final report of the 2017 Climate Policy Review which coincided with the release of a report card on Australia’s emissions.
NFF President Fiona Simson said a reduction in emissions in the past quarter of 0.6 percent (the largest in four years) was particularly good news.
“Australia is now well on track to meet our Paris Accord target – to be 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.”
Ms Simson said climate change posed a significant challenge for all Australian farmers.
“Farmers are at the coalface of the impacts of climate change. Arguably, the fortunes of no other industry are so closely linked to climate.
“As such, the NFF recognises the sector’s role in reducing Australia’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and is committed to doing our bit.”
Ms Simson said as a nation, steps needed to be taken to ensure the economy was well placed to cost efficiently reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions profile.
“The importance of stable, scalable and cohesive climate policy settings should not be understated.
“As a key pillar of Australia’s economy, there is a national economic imperative to ensure climate policies support a sustainable and growing agriculture sector.
“The commitment from Government to continue to consult regarding the development of a long-term emissions reduction strategy is pleasing to hear.”
The Liverpool Plains mixed farmer said such a strategy needed to consider Australian agriculture’s international interface.
“More than 75% of Australian agricultural produce is exported. Therefore, the industry is highly exposed to global markets.
“It is crucial that climate policy settings recognise the importance of maintaining our competitive position in global markets.”
Ms Simson said policies that encouraged innovation and the adoption of low emission technologies and participation in carbon offset markets were most appropriate for agriculture.
“While the review highlights the emissions abatement achieved through the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the NFF believes there is still much to be done in order to unlock the full carbon potential of Australian farms.
“We welcome a commitment by the Government to continue to develop, review and improve the methods and operation of the ERF.
“It is critical that Government ensures the settings of offset markets facilitate efficient participation by farmers.”
The NFF has long argued that there are fundamental barriers to farmers participating in the carbon market, including:
There is no easy way for a farmer to bundle up and sell the different sequestration and emission reduction strategies that suit their farm system and business model. This creates high administrative costs and reduced efficiency.
There are a limited number of methods available that are relevant to the majority of farmers. The reality is that for most Australian farmers cost-effective methods are not yet available.
Understanding the legal and financial risks to participating in the carbon market is difficult, and sourcing trusted and independent advice is challenging. Emissions reduction projects are long term commitments of at least seven years, and in the case of sequestration projects 25 to 100 years.
“Emissions reduction policies will work best where they drive improved natural resource management for both increased productivity and abatement, and where there is adequate reward for the ecosystem services that farmers provide to the wider community,” Ms Simson said.
“We look forward to engaging further with the Government and the Federal Department on this matter and further explore the opportunity to greater recognise and value the non-carbon benefits association with vegetation management, as well as the consultation on the detailed design of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
“There is great opportunity for Australian agriculture to contribute to the nation’s emissions reduction goals while we work towards our vision for agriculture to become a $100 billion industry by 2030.”

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