President of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Fiona Simson has claimed a seat at the table during climate policy negotiations on behalf of farmers, saying the world is run by those who show up. NFF wants to ensure farmers interests are front and centre in the climate policy debate.
According to Simson, export markets are increasingly requiring exporters to demonstrate green credentials, citing EU taxes applied to exporters who don’t meet carbon thresholds and may be applied to agriculture in future. Simson stresses that if Australian exporters can’t meet the emerging expectations of its customers, then there is a line-up of countries producing comparable product who will. Closer to home, banks are tying interest rates to farm sustainability with the RBA and APRA directing banks to look at climate risk when providing loans and setting interest rates.
Despite the headwinds, Simson points out that ag is the only industry capable of emitting greenhouse gases but also sequestering it as carbon dioxide. NFF is positioning Australian agriculture to prosper in the new world by setting a clear goal and backing an economy-wide net carbon zero by 2050 target with some caveats. Farmers want to be part of the discussion to ensure they can continue to do business by ensuring there is a clear, economic pathway for agriculture to contribute and that farmers are not again victims of unfair regulation.
Meanwhile, the Nationals struggle to find common ground on net zero emissions. Energy minister Angus Taylor pitched the Government’s net zero emissions by 2050 plan, but deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud said there were still many technical questions to be answered. If the Nationals do not reach agreement, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison could be a man without a plan when he travels to COP26 in Glasgow in November. The Nationals are not interested in any policies which impact jobs in the regions or add to the cost of living through an explicit carbon tax.