Members and friends are invited to study these policies and provide advice on improvements and additions.
To slow the rate of climate change to ensure a productive future for Australian agriculture and to continue the sustenance of planetary diversity.
Background and rationale
EFN accepts the strong scientific evidence that human activity mostly based on excessive and unsustainable use of fossil fuels, is causing rapid changes in weather patterns worldwide (Reports of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). We also recognise that if weather changes are at the high end of predictions many areas currently being farmed may become unusable.
Climate change will impact severely on our ability not only to sustain the current world population but to sustain human life on the planet in the worse-case scenario. Ironically some prime agricultural areas in some countries will receive too much rain (eg parts of New Zealand).
Climate change will impact on all farming operations, mostly adversely. More severe and longer lasting droughts, surface and groundwater shortages, storm frequency and intensity increased, unseasonal rains and seasonal changes affecting flowering and pollination times, inability to pollinate crops, ecosystem simplification (biodiversity loss).
EFN recognises that Australian farmers are used to surviving in a highly variable climate and this trait may assist with climate change adjustment.
The Australian Greenhouse Office estimates that primary production contributes about 17% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia This only includes biological processes as transport and stationery energy are measured elsewhere. The main gases are methane and nitrous oxides. Each molecule of methane is equivalent to 21 molecules of carbon Dioxide in terms of global warming effect and nitrous oxide is equivalent to 310 molecules of carbon dioxide.
Main emissions for agriculture in south eastern Australia are
- Rumen fermentation and manure management (over 60%)
- Emissions from the nitrogen cycle in agricultural soils and applied fertiliser
- Burning crop residues
- Anaerobic processes in rice paddies
EFN will lobby State and Federal Governments to:
- cap carbon usage at a sustainable level,
- change policy settings and regulations to reflect the true cost of energy choices,
- encourage further awareness of the issues and everyone to think globally and act locally to change our lifestyles,
- urge Governments and industry to review their own climate impact and to research better methods of achieving their goals,
- review land use and land management to maximise carbon sequestration and reduce emissions;
- reduce our reliance on high (fossil fuel based) input farming,
encourage and support further research and development of renewable energy sources.
- research better agricultural techniques to grow crops and raise animals.
- build knowledge, capability capacity and continuity - especially in public service departments
- embrace and facilitate climate change compatible infrastructure (ie true adaptability)