Farmers have called out the federal government’s climate change low emissions policy as selling out an industry for profit.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor unveiled the draft technology investment roadmap this week, with steps towards low emissions.
However, Farmers for Climate Action had slammed the roadmap, saying it needed to include a zero-emissions target for 2050.
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Tasmanian farmer Brett Hall, who runs a beef property at Bronte Park, near Miena, said climate change was evident every day on his farm.
He said low emissions targets were an excellent first step, but it was a matter of too little, too late, and time was running out.
“Climate change is evident to us working on the land, but we need to see stronger initiatives because the evidence is there to suggest that we have not done enough so far and we’re past that point,” he said.
The draft technology investment roadmap outlined five critical objectives including ensuring hydrogen production stayed below $2 per kilogram, long-duration energy storage, the use of low carbon materials, CO compression and soil carbon projects.
“The government’s plan has three key focuses – lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs,” Mr Taylor said.
“Getting the technologies of the future right will support 130,000 jobs by 2030, and avoid in the order of 250 million tonnes of emissions in Australia by 2040.
But Mr Hall and Farmers for Climate Action believe those goals are too long in the future and not inspirational enough to significantly impact Australia’s fossil fuel emissions and the resulting carbon.
The beef industry has come under fire in recent years as a significant contributor to climate change, but Mr Hall said the industry had pivoted to more carbon-neutral practices.
On Mr Hall’s farm, native vegetation covers a third of the property, and he selectively breeds or purchases animals that mature quicker, which means less time in the supply chain.
Meat and Livestock Australia revealed a carbon-neutral plan for the industry, which aims to reach that goal by 2030.
Farmers for Climate Change chief executive Wendy Cohen said farmers required leadership on this issue from the government.
“The federal government needs to get real about climate change and commit to a net-zero emissions target of no later than 2050, then use the best available evidence to back projects that will serve to reach that goal,” she said.
“We cannot afford new gas or carbon capture and storage projects when renewable energy, backed up by battery storage, is already the cleanest and cheapest way to power Australian homes and businesses.”
Mrs Cohen said climate change was costing farmers money now and modelling by the Department of Agriculture showed over the past two decades, climate change had cut average annual profits of large farms by 22 per cent.