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TAS Country : December 16th 2010
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, December 17, 2010 TFGA www.tfga.com.au Clarity essential on carbon pricing STUCK: Farmers' inability to pass on additional costs through the supply chain is second to none. TFGA matters with Jan Davis Any additional increase in our cost base to achieve environmental and social outcomes must be coupled with some form of financial recompense.' THE literal and economic price of carbon has been very much the main topic of conversation through- out 2010, aside from the extraordinary federal elec- tion result. However, I am still not convinced that the position of farmers vis-a-vis carbon trading is well understood outside the offices of the National Farmers' Feder- ation and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers As- sociation. Recently, the NFF set out in clear terms where we stand to a business roundtable that the Fed- eral Government has es- tablished to examine car- bon pricing issues. Using their template, I thought it would be useful if I set down the eight main points that farmers want borne in mind in any discussions: Farmers' profitability and sustainability must not be compromised. Any policy approach must recognise the potential im- pact on food and fibre production, allowing them to increase without far- mers incurring financial penalties. Climate mitigation policies for agriculture have to recognise the unique nature of agricul- tural production systems and the biological nature of farm production. There are limitations on the ab- solute degree to which agricultural emissions can be reduced and there are scientific uncertainties in estimating agricultural emissions. Policies must avoid carbon leakage. Placing re- strictions on Australian agricultural production will result in this supply being met by overseas sources who will not be as restricted as we are. This will often result in higher global emissions. Flawed international carbon accounting rules do not recognise agriculture's positive contribution to cli- mate change. Farmers must be pro- vided with the tools and policy mechanisms to re- duce greenhouse gas con- centrations in the atmos- phere. Research and development will play a vital role in allowing them to abate emissions. Policies must avoid perverse economic, social and environmental out- comes. Decisions regard- ing climate mitigation poli- cies for agriculture must consider the broader im- pacts across whole farm systems -- factors such as water availability, bio- diversity, regional com- munities and farm in- comes. Climate mitigation policies must not lead to a significant bias towards forestation for carbon storage as a regional land use. Farming, including the production of trees as part of a diversified farm business, must still be the optimum land use. Farmers need policy clarity and certainty. Poli- cies for agriculture must deliver clarity from de- cision makers to the farm sector. It is important that education programs be de- veloped to inform farmers and others in the com- munity about the impli- cations of any proposed mitigation mechanism. These expectations must be set in light of the fact that Australian agricul- ture has already reduced its emission by 40 per cent since 1990, while at the same time increasing its productivity by an annual average of 2.8 per cent. This contribution by primary industry has been largely responsible for Australia meeting Kyoto Protocol commitments. Farmers export two- thirds of everything they produce, but into the most distorted sector of all inter- national merchandise trade. We are dangerously exposed. In reality, a price on carbon means higher charges for energy and energy-dependent inputs such as fuel, electricity and fertiliser. It is this perspective that causes the most concern for farmers. Our inability to pass on additional costs through the supply chain is second to none. Any additional increase in our cost base to achieve environmental and social outcomes must be coupled with some form of financi- al recompense or our whole food production ca- pacity will be at significant risk. Call: Dan Ryan: 0400 670 386 Brett Stevenson: 0407 000 242 Office: 03 6223 3536 70 Hampden Road, Battery Point, Hobart. www.sfmes.com.au Your forest Your asset > Deposits of up to $100,000 for your timber > An established market network > Professional foresters and contractors > Certified forest management systems If you re a landowner and want to utilise your forest - talk to us. SFM is the leading provider of independent forest management in Tasmania. We get maximum value for your forest products by providing; Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service Export Reforms Find out more Australia s agricultural export industries are working with AQIS to reform export certification. This is part of the Government s $127.4 million Export Certification Reform Package. The reforms will improve the efficiency of the export certification process for Australia s dairy, fish, grain, horticulture, live animal and meat exports. Visit www.daff.gov.au/ecrp to find out more about export reforms. adcorp36544
December 9th 2010
December 23rd 2010