No emissions target coming to agriculture, Beef 2024 told

Sheep Central, May 13, 2024
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THE Federal Government has said it will not make a specific emissions target for agriculture in its pursuit of net zero emissions by 2050.

Emissions regulation was a major topic in the seminars of last week’s Beef 2024 event in Rockhampton, with several speakers showing concern or support for what lies ahead.

With this in the background, government representatives were keen to emphasise that no specific emissions target will be se in the overall plan to reach the company’s target to become net zero by 2050.

Agriculture is the first cab off the rank in a series of sectoral plans to reach net zero, with details of that plan yet to be released.

In a speech made the annual update for the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said there will be no targets set for specific sectors.

“We are not going to be setting an emissions reduction target, just for the agriculture sector,” Minister Watt said.

“But we are saying that every sector has a role to play in making sure we can reach those economy-wide emissions reduction targets.

“There is work to be done on things like measurement of carbon, there are lots of different calculators out there and there is lots to be done to build capacity for the industry, with reliable partners to make the changes that are going to be needed.”

The plan was also addressed in a session with Federal Department of Agriculture secretary Adam FennessyMel Brown from the Division of Farm Resilience and Nadia Bouhafs from the department of climate change and the environment.

Ms Bouhafs said the agriculture industry had set a lot of its own targets and the Government was keen to work out where it can assist.

“People are worried we are going to come in and regulate. But we are keen to lean in, not supplicate and invest where it is necessary,” she said.

“We have a sector where the majority of people don’t know their emissions profile and there are limited options to address that emissions profile. There is also a shortage of trusted advisors for producers and that is where we are looking to direct our attention.”

Many beef industry organisations have made written submissions to the net zero plan, calling for the Government to focus the industry’s targets on warming, rather than numbers of emissions and to recognise recent research suggesting the industry could be “climate neutral” in the next few years.

The panel was asked if “climate neutrality” would be part of the Government’s emissions plan going forward.

Ms Bouhafs said the Government was aware of the industry’s push to make separate regulation for methane and that metrics to reflect that should be investigated.

“We can’t simply say no, it is entirely appropriate for us to do an assessment,” she said.

“That broader conversation around the role of methane is something that we will be doing. We have had a lot of comments from the cattle industry and others outside the industry to separate out methane and I think it is appropriate for us to look at it.”


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