NSW Farmers considered the challenging issue of achieving economy-wide Net Zero Emissions by 2050 at its recent Executive Council meeting.
NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said support for the aspiration is conditional upon a number of factors being met, including the existence of credible pathways to achieving the goal and there being no undue costs or regulatory impacts on the agriculture sector.
“Firstly, there must be an appropriate peer reviewed methodology in place”, Mr Jackson said.
“We also need to see impact statements on sectors within agriculture, and these must include the vital input of energy. It is crucial that impacts to energy prices do not make us uncompetitive.”
“Given the diversity of sectors within the agriculture industry, the impact and actions will be different for each commodity.”
“There must be economically and technologically credible pathways available to commodities in achieving net neutrality, and there must be rolling five-yearly reviews showing that these pathways exist.”
Mr Jackson stressed that the Net Zero Emissions aspiration must be economy-wide, meaning all industries in Australia must share the load.
“Many parts of the agriculture industry are already leading change that will contribute to the Net Zero Emissions aspiration, but agriculture can’t shoulder the full load or be unfairly burdened in the pursuit of this goal”, Mr Jackson said.
“All parts of the economy will need to be equally accountable, participatory and responsive”.
“Unfortunately, individual farmers have been forced to meet Australia’s Kyoto protocol commitments on behalf of all Australians, through native vegetation laws which stripped farmers’ property rights without remuneration.”
“Commonwealth and State governments must play a role by ensuring that legislation and policy is clear and consistent so that carbon neutrality does not create additional regulatory impediments for agriculture.”
“It will be critical that both levels of governments commit to delivering on ground programs that underpin changed practice, including further focus on improving essential inputs, such as energy.”
“Reaching the aspiration of economy wide Net Zero emissions by 2050 requires a global and local commitment by all industries, and agriculture is prepared to do its part”, Mr Jackson concluded.