Media release

Action on climate change

Release: 20 June 2011

The Environmental Farmers Network strongly supports action to address climate change. This includes placing a tax on carbon as one means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The consequences of inaction include much of Australia becoming hostile to food and fibre production at huge cost to our children and grandchildren. Traditional farming will not be possible in many regions.

Our members recognise the importance of farming sustainably and maintaining productivity whilst preserving and enhancing soil, water and native vegetation on farms and in farming regions.

Recent campaigns against the introduction of a tax highlight costs associated with the tax. The whole basis of the tax is to encourage people, including farmers, to adjust the way they operate in order to minimise costs - just as they have with many other cost increases. The difference in this case is that they will also minimise their greenhouse gas emissions. Costs will be lower for farming enterprises that do adjust. Furthermore, farmers who fix (sequester) carbon will be rewarded.

The soon to be introduced “Carbon Farming Initiative” will reduce greenhouse emissions and assist our members in protecting the farming environment by providing opportunities to “carbon farm” by improving agricultural practices to preserve and add to soil carbon levels, maintain and improve remnant and native vegetation and better manage inland grazing and sub tropical rangelands.

If rural Australians are genuinely interested in providing food and fibre for future generations we should support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Australia is the highest per capita emitter and the nation most able to afford to change to a new green economy providing jobs and a liveable environment for all. Equity demands that our generation, Australia, and the farming sector all play their proportionate role. Encouraging land managers and farmers to provide ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration is a positive step.

Our members urge all Australians to support action on climate change starting with a tax on carbon and ultimately placing a cap on carbon use. This crisis requires politicians to step up and show leadership at the national and international level. If we fail to act now we are denying future generations the relatively secure lives that we Australians have enjoyed.

John Pettigrew
Bunbartha. Victoria

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