Farmers for Climate Action are warning agricultural exports are likely to be hit without decisive action on climate change, amid news that the EU is endorsing a carbon tax on its imports.
The European Union last week voted in favour of a carbon border adjustment mechanism, which would place a carbon price on imports from less climate-ambitious countries.
Farmers for Climate Action chair Charlie Prell, a NSW sheep farmer said: “While it’s unclear whether agriculture will be subject to a carbon tariff in the first instance, we’ve been put on notice.
“The US is also considering similar measures and it would be naive to think that the rest of the world, including some of Australia’s biggest trading partners, will not follow suit.
“Australian farmers know this and they are working hard to reduce their carbon emissions, because they see the damage that climate change is doing to agriculture and because they understand that it is necessary to remain competitive in our rapidly changing global economy.
“Rather than carving out agriculture from a national net zero by 2050 target, the Australian government should be funding research and development to support our farmers to reduce their carbon footprints even more quickly.
“We need to set the destination – a target – and then use a road map to get there.
“That’s what you do when you travel and that’s the best way to ensure we maintain access to our customers in the EU, US, and around the world.
Queensland grazier and Farmers for Climate Action board member Angus Emmott said:
“A Queensland peak agricultural body, AgForce, just yesterday joined the chorus of farming groups in insisting that we want to lead the way in reaching net zero emissions by 2050, rather than being excluded for a national target.
“To suggest otherwise is simply out of touch with modern Australian agriculture.
“Moving quickly towards net zero emissions will open up a wealth of new income opportunities for Australian farmers, who can be paid for sequestering carbon in their soil, restoring landscapes and hosting renewable energy projects on their land, all while continuing to farm.
“Our representatives in parliament need to get real about how rapidly the world is changing and work to position Australia so we can best take advantage of the opportunities these changes represent.”
Net zero emissions refers to an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and taken out of the atmosphere. Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of more than 5000 farmers, plus thousands more supporters in regional Australia, who want to ensure that agriculture is part of the solution to climate change.