IPCC report backs sustainable agriculture and forest management to help tackle climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land released yesterday highlights the need for a whole-of-landscape approach to tackling climate change, and the vital role the agriculture sector can play in reducing emissions and storing carbon, Climate Proofing Australia said today.

CPA is pleased to see that the IPCC’s recommendations are consistent with our call on the Australian Government to better target the Climate Solutions Fund (formerly the Emissions Reduction Fund) to incentivise carbon projects from the agriculture and forestry sectors that deliver the co-benefits of biodiversity, productivity, water quality and landholders and employment.

“With land-based activities also accounting for around 20 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, carbon farming presents a really important opportunity not just to reduce these emissions, but to improve our landscape at the same time,” Greening Australia CEO Brendan Foran said.

“A strengthened CFI and the introduction of ‘premium credits’ will mean that large-scale tree plantings can also achieve important co-benefits, such as reinstating wildlife habitat, supporting sustainable agriculture and cleaner waters in our rivers.”

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Ms Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the agriculture sector in Australia is working to adapt to the impacts of climate change.  However, with the right policy settings and support from governments the agriculture sector can do a lot more to reduce emissions and store carbon.

“Despite climate change already leading to increasing management and productivity challenges for farmers, industry initiatives including the red meat sector’s carbon neutral by 2030 target demonstrate that agriculture is working to improve our climate footprint,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

“As land custodians, farmers and graziers are on the frontline of climate change and are uniquely positioned to play an important part in Australia’s climate solutions while delivering co‑benefits.”

CPA reiterated its call on the Federal Government to commit a proportion of the Climate Solutions Fund to projects that deliver multiple benefits, and to remove barriers to the Fund that currently limit opportunities for the agriculture and forestry sectors.

“The Fund’s current conditions limit the land sector’s capacity to generate co-benefits associated with carbon sequestration, such as reinstating wildlife habitat, supporting sustainable agriculture, increasing the plantation forestry estate, and cleaner waters in our rivers,” said Ross Hampton, CEO, Australian Forest Products Association.

“This next phase of the Fund is an opportunity to address these barriers and make it more accessible to primary industries and landowners.”

Climate Proofing Australia (CPA) is a primary industries and conservation alliance comprised of Farmers for Climate Action, the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Greening Australia and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), committed to advancing the role of agribusiness, conservation and natural resource management in Australia’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

CPA’s key policy principles are:

  • The continuation and enhancement of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) – around which the Emissions Reduction Fund was built – to maximise biodiversity, and food and fibre production benefits alongside the scheme’s carbon sequestration objectives.
  • The development of new mechanisms and incentives for carbon abatement on land projects that brings together institutional, private and public capital.
  • The need for new and improved national environmental datasets and mapping to guide best practice and whole-of-landscape policy making that integrates forestry, farming and conservation outcomes.
  • Improving the Australian landscape by balancing native biodiverse plantings with agricultural production and forestry.
  • Primary industries working towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

More information about Climate Proofing Australia including previous media releases and publications available at www.climateproofingaustralia.com.au