NEG places unfair burden on nation’s farmers

22.06.18 By

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will put more pressure on the nation’s farmers, placing an unfair burden on the agriculture sector thanks to the policy’s woefully inadequate greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets for the electricity sector.

Climate Council Acting CEO Dr Martin Rice said that “the National Energy Guarantee places a greater burden on sectors of the economy where emissions reductions will be more challenging and more expensive compared to what is proposed for the electricity sector.”

“Cost-effective technologies such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and storage technology are readily available and can be rapidly deployed to reduce electricity emissions,”he said.

“In contrast, there are far fewer opportunities to swiftly reduce greenhouse gas pollution levels from other sectors, especially agriculture. This will also place additional burden on farmers and landowners already battling worsening drought conditions as a result of intensifying climate change.”

A recent report entitled ‘Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions shows Australia will not meet its woefully inadequate 2030 emissions reduction target under current policies.

“Agriculture is currently the fourth largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in Australia,  and it’s important to recognise that there are limited opportunities to reduce emissions in the sector compared to energy,” said Dr Rice.

According to the ‘Climate Change and Drought Factsheet’ drought conditions have been officially declared in over 16% of New South Wales and nearly 58% of Queensland, with climate change contributing to extreme weather events including record temperatures and low rainfall, hitting the Australian agriculture sector hard.

Climate Councillor and ecologist Professor Lesley Hughes said “Accelerating climate change is already exacerbating drought conditions across parts of southern Australia.”

“This is a critical issue for farmers, their families and rural communities,” she said.

“Australia’s lack of strong and credible federal climate and energy policy was leaving Australians and the agriculture sector vulnerable to increasing extreme weather events.”

“The ongoing burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas has led to rising greenhouse gas pollution levels in Australia.”

“There are opportunities to significantly reduce pollution levels from the electricity sector and to protect battling farmers on the frontline of climate change. There are no technical barriers to Australia achieving affordable, secure and reliable power from renewable energy and battery storage technology,” she said

For more information please contact Senior Advisor – Media and Stakeholder Engagement Kurt Hermann on 0421 007 510.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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