Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2008-2009 Contents Importantly, the Government recognised that
agriculture cannot be covered by the CPRS
until factors preventing the sector's accurate
and fair treatment are addressed. These include:
• A lack of accurate, verifable and cost-
effective emissions measurement and
reporting mechanisms for agriculture.
• A lack of demonstrable commercially-
viable abatement and sequestration
options for all agricultural sectors.
• International greenhouse gas accounting
rules which reflect the net emissions
contribution of agriculture.
• The international competitiveness
of Australian agricultural production
not being jeopardised.
• Proposed CPRS emissions caps must
reflecting a business as usual operating
environment, while acknowledging
agriculture's massive contribution by
reducing emissions by 40% over 1990-2006.
• The mechanisms by which proposed
CPRS emission caps will allow for the
continued growth of the agriculture sector
being clearly understood by industry.
• On-farm energy reductions and abatement
measures being credited to agriculture.
• The point of obligation for agriculture
having minimal transaction costs,
while not obscuring market signals.
However, while it is impractical to initially
cover agriculture within the CPRS, the
Government must work with industry in
developing alternative, voluntary, incentive-
based mechanisms that provide a positive
market signal to farmers to reduce their net
carbon footprint. It is not an option for the
farm sector to not make a further contribution
to reducing greenhouse gas concentrations
in the atmosphere. The NFF believes
we can make an equitable contribution
provide appropriate policies are in place.
To attain the right policy settings, the NFF has
engaged extensively with Government on
this issue. The Government has to develop a
work plan with industry to determine whether
the CPRS is an appropriate climate change
policy for the agricultural sector. The NFF
has indicated that it does want to engage
in a work plan with Government, but only
if this program reflects that it is a process
to determine appropriate policy options
for the agriculture sector with regards to
mitigating greenhouse gas concentrations in
the atmosphere and is not purely focused on
including agriculture in a CPRS. Alternative
measures that 'incentivise' direct investment
by farmers into mitigation technologies must
also be examined through this process.
Furthermore, the NFF is advocating for
acknowledgment that all of the following
issues must be addressed in developing the
climate change policy settings for the sector:
1. Research and development,
2. Obstacles to coverage of
a. Point of obligation
b. International competitiveness
c. Measurement, monitoring and
d. International Carbon Accounting rules
3. Complementary policies
a. Incentives for direct investment in
4. Economic, environmental and
social modelling results
a. Including impacts around land
b. Alignment with broader agricultural
The Kyoto Carbon Accounting Rules
The NFF understands that current Kyoto-based
international rules fail to recognise or deal
with the complexity of modern agriculture.
The NFF has argued that the Kyoto Protocol
accounting rules must be adjusted as they
currently misrepresent agricultural emissions
and are a barrier to increasing the carbon
storage potential of agricultural lands.
In this regard, 2009 is a critical year for the
farm sector in influencing the international
carbon accounting rule negotiations. The
NFF's strategy to influence the negotiations
in Copenhagen is centred on educating
the international farming community on
why it is also in their interests to change the
international carbon accounting rules.
Through this action, we hope that farmers
across the globe will exert pressure on their
own Governments and, in doing so, secure
a better outcome for our sector. The NFF's
membership of the International Federation
of Agricultural producers (IFAP) provides
us with a valuable mechanism to engage
with the global farming community.
One of the fallouts from the global
financial crisis has been a global reversion
to protectionism in a misguided attempt
to provide some insulation from the
economic woes that abound. The chasm
between hollow rhetoric and genuine
leadership has rarely been so stark as when
world leaders spruik the virtues of trade
reform while shielding their economies
from international trade -- often under the
cover of 'economic stimulus packages'.
The US 'buy American' dictate as part
of the first Obama package was a clear
demonstration of this emerging element.
The NFF has argued that the problem with
this kind of 'protection', which provides little
if any protection at all, is while it may shore-
up domestic jobs in the short-term, it only
reinforces the inefficiencies and inherent
market distortions that have plagued the
international trade arena for too long
Rather than help the US economy to
rebound, such actions merely compound
and entrench the inefficient allocation of
resources that the global economy can
ill-afford both now and in the longer term.
The EU decision to re-instated export
subsidies for its dairy producers in January
2009 was another disappointing example
of emerging protectionism, adding further
distortions to world dairy prices and sending
shockwaves through already reeling global
dairy prices struggling to regain stability.
Australian farmers have led the charge on
global trade reform for more than 20 years.
In the midst of the current economic malaise
comes the opportunity for other countries
to take a leadership role in advancing serious
reform and providing the economic kick-
start needed to get markets operating and
flowing again. The longer they delay in
28 NATION AL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL R EVIEW 2008-09
"Australia would have well and truly been in recession if not for
the growth achieved by the Australian farm sector. These results
also back the NFF's assertion that the underlying fundamentals of
Australia's farm production are rock solid"
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