AgForce is flying the flag for Queensland farming as the world gears up for next month’s crunch climate summit COP26.
With agriculture the only industry to have materially lowered emissions in the last 20 years, the organisation is lobbying the Government to ensure it receives due recognition for the work it has already done on climate.
It is also seizing the opportunity to prevent another “Kyoto scenario”, which saw the Howard Government commit to strict vegetation management regulations at COP3 that have negatively impacted producers and landscapes ever since.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said agriculture had an impressive story to tell and a huge contribution to make, but warned it wouldn’t be trampled on again.
“Industry will not accept another imposition of punitive measures via legislation and be left with all the costs and burden alone again like it was after Kyoto,” he said.
“Quite simply, we bore the brunt of reducing emissions for every single Australian.
“It is to our credit that we turned this negative into something positive – something truly inspiring – becoming the only industry since Kyoto was ratified to materially lower its emissions.
“What’s more, our work in this area has only just started.
“Industry can and will continue to make a real difference in the next phase on climate, but it is imperative that we secure equal partner status in any discussions around what we as a nation do moving forward, and that we are not kept in the dark again.
“Further regulation will only serve to stymie, not support continued emission reductions and improved landscapes.”
Figures from the Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reveal in 2019-20 Australia beat its 2020 emissions target by 459 million tonnes, largely due to significant declines from agriculture.
In the last three decades, emissions from cropping and grazing have fallen 69 per cent, while the red meat sector has reduced its emissions by 57 per cent since 2005.
Mr Guerin said Glasgow’s COP26 was a key moment for one of Australia’s biggest, proudest, and most sustainable industries, and one AgForce had been preparing for through years of long-form policy work.
Part of that includes the organisation’s ground-breaking AgCarE (Agriculture Carbon and the Environment) program – a rigorous verification process that takes a collaborative, voluntary, payment-based approach to achieving environmental outcomes at individual property level.
The scheme was born out of AgForce members’ frustration at not being able to make a positive difference to climate and the environment, and provides a genuine avenue for low cost, medium risk options related to carbon abatement, drought mitigation, improved biodiversity, and sustainable long-term landscape management and business resilience.
“We will continue to develop this program and encourage governments to adopt it over current expensive, enormously complex options on offer that are plainly out of reach of most farming families,” said Mr Guerin.
“We have an industry that contributes strongly to the health of the nation and its people through fresh, quality, locally produced food that every single Australian can enjoy every single day,” he said.
“Not only that but one which underpins regional economies, supports strengthening environmental and landscape outcomes and delivers sustainable export earnings.
“As we approach Glasgow’s COP26 summit we need to highlight the work of our members – many of which have already achieved carbon neutral status or better – and in doing so we will ensure agriculture and its producers are at the heart of the conversation on climate for years to come.”
For media comments or case studies contact:
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin 0488 002 092
AgForce Media Advisor Hannah Davies 0434 929 523