Climate Proofing Australia is an industry and conservation led network of organisations committed to advancing the role of farming, forestry and conservation in meeting Australia’s emissions targets. This cross-sector collaboration seeks to work together in an unprecedented manner to manage land in ways that reduce the impact of climate change on people, nature and economies.
As the driest inhabited continent in the world, Australia is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. According to our best scientists, we are seeing our average temperatures increase, and changes in heatwaves, droughts, frosts and rainfall patterns are already translating into pressures on our farmers, native fauna and flora, and water supplies (among other impacts).
We need immediate action to reduce CO2 emissions, and to increase the resilience of our farming landscapes and natural ecosystems to climate change.
As managers of nearly 50 per cent of the Australian landmass, farmers and other landholders across the food, fibre and conservation sectors play a key role in protecting Australia’s natural environment.
Since the introduction of the Emissions Reduction Fund in 2015, over 80 per cent of emissions reductions contracted to date through the ERF have come from agriculture and land sector projects. And as of December 2018, vegetation projects alone account for 125.7 megatonnes of CO2, or 65 per cent, of the 190 MT of contracted abatement (read more).
So it isn’t wishful thinking when we say that, with the right policy settings and support, the agriculture, forestry and environmental sectors can work together to significantly reduce Australia’s carbon emissions, while providing great environmental and biodiversity outcomes and boosting economic activity across primary industries.
We can better align forestry and farming efforts with habitat conservation and revegetation projects to store carbon in Australia’s rural landscapes, while simultaneously generating income, repairing widespread land degradation and supporting farmers and landholders.
Policy security and consistency is essential, however, for the food, fibre and conservation sectors to respond both to climate change and to the increasing consumer demand for products that make ethical, environmental and economic sense.
We want to see changes to the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) conditions that limit our ability to generate co-benefits associated with carbon sequestration. By ‘co-benefits’ we mean reinstated wildlife habitat, more sustainable agriculture and cleaner waters in our rivers. Changes to the ERF will free up the agriculture, forestry and conservation sectors to not only make a considerable contribution to reducing emissions, but also realise these significant co-benefits.
Greening Australia sees our involvement in Climate Proofing Australia as key to achieving our goal of planting 300,000 hectares of biodiverse habitat by 2030, through our Great Southern Landscapes program.