Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bleating and handwringing a poor substitute for policy

The Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) and AgForce were quick off the mark to celebrate a hollow victory - the Ganaut
Report's recommendation that agriculture not be included in an emissions trading scheme for the time being.

QFF CEO John Cherry hopes it will all go away: he is not convinced the agricultural sector should ever be ‘in’. "There are some fundamental problems with applying an ETS to agriculture, we're not sure we can sort the measurement issues out," he said. "We're not sure that his compensation mechanism sorts out the trade exposure issue and we might end up exporting our agriculture industries to countries that don't have an ETS."

AgForce president Peter Kenny says: "AgForce does not believe agriculture should be a covered sector in Australia. We support the use of research as it can deliver both improved efficiency and reduced emissions.

"The Federal Government is still unable to demonstrate how it plans to account for the significant offsets already provided by agriculture (unlike the major emitting industries) or how it plans to account for the price we have already paid here in Queensland because of the land clearing legislation.”

Unfortunately the Queensland land clearing legislation has nothing to do with emissions reduction. It falls ouside Kyoto guidelines and any use of it by the then Commonwealth Government to ’meet its obligations under Kyoto’ was spurious and nonsense bcause AUustralia – having not ratified the Protocols – did not have obligations to meet. If his foregone deforestration hs since been accepted by Kyoto officials, it is direct contravention of their own principles of Additionality. (See below)

"Australia also currently lacks the mechanisms needed to independently measure agriculture's carbon emissions and it's vital to our industries that both their emissions and the full scope of their carbon sequestration are known, measured and understood."

Worst case scenario (and therefore of little value) modelling from the Australian Farm Institute has input costs up 45% for some cropping enterprises and up 15% for some graziers.

"Increases of this scale would make many producers unviable even if agriculture is not a covered sector, it will certainly drive up the price paid by consumers," Mr Kenny said.

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