Farmers say gas industry needs to take action

By Jamie Salter

Greenhouse gas emissions will be devastating for Australian farming communities, a lobby group says.

The Federal Government’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the March quarter of 2020 showed drought-induced livestock losses and declining fertiliser use drove a 5.5 per cent decrease in emissions from agriculture, while emissions from liquefied gas exports rose by 11.1 per cent.

Farmers for Climate Action chief executive officer Wendy Cohen said farmers were feeling the pain from the drought, exacerbated by climate change, while the gas industry profited from pollution.

“A global pandemic is not a credible emissions reduction policy,” Ms Cohen said.

“The Federal Government still has no plan to deliver the significant, sustained emissions reductions we need.

“In fact, instead of planning to reduce emissions, this Federal Government is backing the expansion of gas, which would be a disaster for our climate, for our economy, and for regional and rural Australians.

“FCA’s Regional Horizons plan outlines how investing in climate solutions like large-scale renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture and resilient communities can strengthen regional economies, create new jobs, while addressing climate change.”

South Gippsland beef farmer Fergus O’Connor said farmers were leading efforts to achieve net zero emissions in the agriculture sector.

“But while we are doing everything we can to move our sector forward, it is galling to see the gas industry continuing to increase its carbon pollution and line its pockets,” Mr O’Connor said.

The Australian Climate Roundtable, which includes the National Farmers’ Federation, said Australia was unprepared for the scale of climate change threats over coming decades.

“There is no systemic government response (federal, state and local) to build resilience to climate risks,” the round-table reported.

“Action is piecemeal, unco-ordinated and does not engage business, private sector investment, unions, workers in affected industries, community sector and communities.

“And (it) does not match the scale of the threat climate change represents to the Australian economy, environment and society.”

The group has called for zero net emissions by 2050.