This week we recognise Earth Day, a day to focus and reflect on ensuring a healthy, sustainable habitat for people and wildlife alike. It serves as a reminder of how fragile our planet and its ecosystems are and how important it is to protect them for the future of our planet. Maintaining a sustainable and profitable agriculture sector is essential to the longevity and prosperity of Queensland farmers and the environment into the future. And it is for these future generations that many farmers steward their lands and operate their businesses to the highest standard, in order to leave them in a better condition than when they acquired them.
The Queensland Government has set a state target to reach zero net emissions by 2050, along with the interim target for at least a 30 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030. Queensland’s agriculture sector is taking a proactive approach to reducing emissions on farm and is continuing to make significant investments in clean energy to decarbonise the economy. For Queensland farmers, it makes good business sense with Deloitte research recently estimating that climate change (if left unchecked), will cause Australia’s economy to contract by six per cent and have 880,000 fewer jobs by 2070, ultimately equalling a $3.4 trillion lost opportunity. These estimates are in stark contrast to an Australian economy successfully delivering net zero by 2050, which could add $680 billion, grow the economy by 2.6 per cent and create more than 250,000 jobs.
Queensland farmers are already experiencing the effects of climate variability and are firmly a part of solution when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state. 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 mechanisms through to safeguarding future market access. It is essential that climate change solutions must centre and safeguard those most disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation and climate change, and in Queensland, the protection of our food production systems and our natural flora and fauna must be a priority.