Australian farmers want their Government to keep agriculture out of its Emissions Trading Scheme.
AUSTRALIA’S proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) could affect international food and fibre prices at a time of food crisis, the nation’s farm sector has warned.
National Farmers’ Federation vice-president Charles Burke said rarely did governments pursue policies like the ETS that could have such broad-reaching ramifications.
”If we don’t get this right, this could become a new and additional factor putting pressure on global markets, affecting both supply and prices in Australia,” he said on the eve of the release of the Federal Government’s green paper on emissions trading.
Mr Burke said Australian farmers’ input costs – fuel, electricity, fertiliser and chemicals – may increase regardless of agriculture’s role in an ETS.
All of this sounds very similar to what farmers are saying on this side of the Tasman.
Westpac’s senior agribusiness economist, Justin Smirk, said global markets responded immediately to any event, be it floods in Iowa, food export tariffs in Argentina or aggressive US and European biofuels policies.
”Actions, events and seasonal conditions in Australia and their impact on our farm sector are no different, reverberating through global markets,” he said.
”Markets are closely watching the complex problem of climate change, its potential impact on global farm output, and the policies proposed to mitigate global warming emissions.”
Competitors will also be working out if they could use the ETS to impose non-tariff barriers to imports.
NFF president David Crombie warned against including agriculture in the ETS, citing the difficulty in measuring, monitoring or verifying the sector’s emissions. No country had included agriculture in an ETS, he said, with the exception of New Zealand, ”where farmers are now looking at margins reducing by up to 160% as a result”.
And how silly is that when it won’t do anything to reduce the global carbon footprint?