Maintaining a sustainable and profitable agriculture sector is essential to the longevity and prosperity of Queensland farmers and the environment into the future. Recent developments, both domestic and international have highlighted the importance of collaboration to achieve a solution and the potential outcome of doing nothing at all.
Concluding this week, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, has assessed the current trajectory, and considered the first set of five-year targets under the Paris agreement signed in 2015. After the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its starkest warning yet in August, there has been a push to lift signatories’ ambition at the meeting. This pressure led to the Australian Government making a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, the means to achieve this target remain uncertain and there is now general acceptance that 2050 is far too late, with a growing number of agricultural bodies calling for a net-zero target by 2030.
Queensland farmers understand that agriculture is particularly vulnerable to climate change and are continuing to make significant investments in clean energy to decarbonise the energy they use as well as carbon sequestration opportunities. Clean Energy Finance Corporation figures showing a progressive commitment among farmers to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, with more loan incentives taken up by the agriculture sector than any other. While many farmers have received funding through Queensland’s Land Restoration Fund and QFF’s Energy Savers program has saved nearly 7,000 tonnes of carbon to date on just 180 farms.
Queensland farmers stand to benefit from actions that reduce emissions and limit climate change and we are one of the few sectors that can be carbon positive. Many farmers are concentrating on managing their carbon impacts, not just in terms of landscape management but also in terms of securing income from new forms of green market and ecosystem service mechanisms through to safeguarding future market access, particularly overseas markets, where a range of carbon border adjustment mechanisms commence from 2023. However, with strong leadership and a clear pathway, we can further maximise this opportunity and ensure a bright future for the environment and the state’s agriculture sector.