The need for a plan
Australia’s agriculture and land sectors are already feeling the effects of climate change.
Australian producers and land managers are innovative and are adapting. But the size of the future challenge can be reduced through strong global action to reduce emissions.
That’s why the Australian Government signed up to the Paris Agreement and committed to ambitious emission reduction goals including reaching net zero by 2050.
Achieving those goals is in Australia’s long-term interests, including ensuring a profitable and sustainable future for our producers and land managers.
Many agriculture industry groups have already committed to playing their part.
Meeting climate goals will help position Australia’s export-oriented agriculture sector to take advantage of shifts in markets and better position the sector to meet expectations from supply chains and the finance sector from the global transition towards lower emissions.
What will be covered?
The Australian Government is developing a net zero plan which will outline how transitioning to a net-zero economy can be achieved.
Six sectoral plans will support this work, including one for agriculture and the land sector.
Reducing emissions in related areas like freight transport and manufacturing of farm inputs will be covered by other sector plans.
The plans will explore ways to contribute to economy-wide goals to reduce emissions, providing certainty needed to support the new investment required to secure Australia’s low emissions future.
Seizing opportunities in a low emissions world
All parts of the economy have a role to play in reaching our national goals. As a sector, agriculture made up 16.8% of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2020-21. Emissions
and sequestration associated with the management of land, including agricultural land, are estimated separately. Land management is currently a net carbon sink, contributing -13.7% of the national total in 2020-21.
Continuing with a proactive approach will allow the industry to seize emerging opportunities and reduce risks associated with climate change. For example, action will:
- improve Australia’s position as a global supplier of sustainable food and fibre
- support the agriculture sector to meet emerging expectations from supply chains, export markets, capital markets and consumers around emissions
- build farm and landscape resilience through carbon storage and deliver co-benefits from vegetation management and tree plantings
- accelerate the adoption of renewable energy for on-farm use to build energy security, reduce emissions and lower costs.
Supporting and enabling change
We are exploring ways to build on existing investments to accelerate emissions reduction in agriculture and increase carbon storage in the land. Opportunities for greater action are organised in the discussion paper under three themes:
Driving innovation to develop, scale and support low emissions technologies
To deliver significant emissions reduction we need a range of commercially viable and scalable technology options.
Significant investment in research and development (R&D) is already underway across governments, industry, and academia.
However, coordinated, diverse and sustained investment is needed to continue to deliver low emissions solutions for all parts of the sector.
There is also a nee to increase the availability for adoption on-farm.
Building capacity across the sector to respond
Implementation of new technologies and practices is driven by producers and land managers.
However, there is a common view that more needs to be done to ensure producers have access to relevant information, tools and advice to assist with on-farm emissions reduction and increase carbon storage.
Ensuring the system enables emissions reduction
There are emerging signals that global markets, supply chains and private capital are seeking product and investment options with lower emissions and climate risks.
These signals are yet to translate into widespread incentives for on-ground investment in new technologies and practices.
We want to explore ways to better enable early action by producers and land managers and hear what governments policies can do to support decarbonisation in agriculture and land.
We want to hear from you
To develop the right plan, we need a better understanding of what is possible for the agriculture and land sectors in terms of emissions reductions and what technologies and practices we need to invest in to help the sector to transition.
Opportunities to reduce emissions
There are established and emerging technologies and practices that reduce agricultural emissions and increase carbon stores.
Uptake can be affected by cost, confidence in outcomes, and technical understanding.
Your feedback will help develop practical solutions to increase uptake and establish new options.
Developing emissions pathways
The plan will explore ways to reduce emissions and store carbon.
The aim is to create a common understanding of what is possible and enable investment in opportunities to reduce emissions.
Your feedback will help determine what level of emission reduction can be achieved by 2035 and 2050.
To read the full Agriculture and Land Sectoral Plan discussion paper and make a submission, visit our Have Your Say website.