The Australian Government must get serious with real action to meet global emissions reduction targets and avoid leaving irrigated agriculture not only vulnerable to climate change impacts but economic penalties on exports.
“We don’t want our agricultural production put at risk of tariffs or embargoes by our major trading partners – our economy and our farmers will suffer if our Government doesn’t step up,” said CEO Claire Miller.
“There’s plenty of environmental reasons to get serious about climate change action, but let’s talk about the economic reasons, too.”
With more than 70% of Australian agricultural product being exported, our farmers must be able to meet the shifting demands of the global economy.
The economy of the very near future will demand and expect nations to demonstrate their commitment to reducing emissions. To remain globally competitive, our leaders must demonstrate Australia is doing, not just talking.
“It’s only a matter of time,” said Ms Miller. “We are already seeing the shift, with the EU recently warning Australia may face carbon tariffs if it does not commit to strong 2030 targets.
“If the Australian Government doesn’t show we are serious about playing our part, the rest of the world will be deciding for us. This is not just a green issue, but an economic one, and one we expect to come above politics.”
Irrigated agriculture is on the frontline of climate change impacts. Irrigator are the last to be allocated water after towns and rivers, and the first to have the tap turned off when rivers and dams start running low.
With inflows have already nearly halving in the Murray-Darling Basin since 2000, food and fibre production is suffering as less and less water is left over to be allocated for irrigation.
The NSWIC has adopted the policy position supporting a net xero, economy wide emission target by 205o, and an ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality of our irrigation industry by 2030.
“We will play our part, but we cannot do it alone, we need the whole economy and our government to follow suit. Our economic, social and environmental future depends on it.”