A new white paper has been released which seeks to identify the challenges that stand between Australia and netzero2050, and suggests ways Australia’s agriculture industry can play a leading role in achieving the global goals.
The white paper titled ‘Change at Our Feet – Australian Agriculture’s Role and Responsibility in Mitigating Climate Change’ was developed in consultation with ten industry experts including policy makers, growers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
The paper identifies several key challenges that need to be overcome if Australian agriculture is to be a champion of change.
Industry experts have agreed that one of the biggest challenges facing our country’s success in achieving net zero is that the Australian government‘s long-term emissions reduction plan relies too heavily on participation. voluntary.
According to the report, we cannot simply rely on market forces to bring about meaningful change.
Strong leadership that develops impactful policy that drives innovation and facilitates adoption at the farm level is a critical success factor.
Another issue presented is that Australia could jeopardize its trade position by playing a passive role when it comes to developing international frameworks for carbon offsetting.
Phil Mulvey, CEO, Carbon Count, was a key contributor to the report. He said Australia should double down on its leadership credentials in the carbon frame industry.
“Perhaps more by accident than design, Australia has become a global leader in developing carbon offset programs, but there is a significant threat that we are not actively pushing to take a leadership role. world in shaping the frameworks of the future,” he said.
“If Australia continues to play a passive role in the global conversation, it is increasingly likely that other countries will instead develop and dictate carbon emissions compliance terms.
“Such external frameworks may not suit the unique demands of our landscapes and agricultural industry.
“We should accept what is provided.”
But meaningful change doesn’t happen in the boardroom, it happens on the field. The white paper examines issues that need to be overcome at the farm level.
The report highlights the crucial role of soil and the promotion of soil health in regulating the Earth’s climate, feeding a burgeoning global population, and creating real climate improvements rather than just positive trends on paper.
Primary producers are highlighted as guardians of our nation’s greatest weapon against climate change; our soils. The report therefore highlights the importance of supporting the agricultural sector through sound policy development, providing soil health education and funding the research needed to point us in the right direction to restore soil security.
According to Chris Russellone of Australia’s foremost agricultural scientists, research funds need to be allocated to the right places.
“I’m concerned that even if we meet our emissions targets, we still won’t see an effect in terms of the climate, particularly agriculture in Australia, because we don’t deal with things like sweating, carbon in the soil, all the things that change the little water cycle,” he said.
“We need to spread our research dollars to give ourselves more options than we may be chimerically thinking we’re going to change the climate by changing emissions.”
The white paper calls for appropriate political support to enable and encourage the timely adoption of emission mitigation practices and the participation of the whole agricultural sector. “Clear financial frameworks that enable and encourage participation in sustainable agricultural practices must be put in place.”
Ultimately, the change in practice must be seen in the business reality in which agricultural enterprises exist. Farms are commercial enterprises; positive climate activities must be commercially viable and easy to set up and maintain.
The report concludes that Australia can still become a leader in climate change mitigation if we create systems that are scalable and measurable, with as few barriers as possible, that provide well-structured support and attractive incentives for encourage widespread and timely adoption. We need the political, social, economic and environmental drivers that allow every farmer to create carbon sequestration and emissions systems that are right for their operation.
“The result of our efforts will be improved landscape health, a thriving farming community and ecosystem diversity, which will benefit everyone,” the report states.
- As a basis for the report, ten stakeholders from various sectors of the agriculture industry joined the ‘Change At Our Feet’ roundtable to explore the role of agriculture in achieving The Australian Way to net zero. Beef industry speakers included the former chairman of the Cattle Council of Australia Tony Hegarty and MLA Program Manager Sustainability and Innovation, Doug McNicholl. Others included Katie McRobert and Richard Heath from the Australian Farm Institute, Chris Russell Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Australian Institute of Agriculture, Founder and Managing Director of Carbon Count, Phil Mulvey, Natalie Williams Managing Director, Natural Capital Co, and several advisors and consultants.
To download the full white paper, go to: https://www.carboncount.com/pages/download-latest-whitepaper