The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has today released an updated climate change policy, including support for Australia to move to net zero emissions by 2050.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “Our climate is changing and farmers are at the forefront of this change. Already we are seeing more variable rainfall and inflows, varying weather patterns and extreme events, and the trend is set to continue.

“The last ice age saw only a five degree difference in global temperatures. We are on track to reach and potentially exceed a two degree increase. Without action, we are likely to see significant impacts on our local communities as water security deteriorates, trade opportunities degrade, our environment suffers and food chains strain. 

“Climate change is a risk to our domestic food security, trade, economy and environment. It places the goal of $100 billion in agricultural production by Australia at significant risk and in the worst case scenario, risks global health, trade, food and national security unless smart policies are established.

“Today, the NIC has published its new climate policy which commits to net zero emissions by 2050, and outlines the support and steps needed to aid this transition. It may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do and farmers can be part of the solution.”

Mr Jeffrey said growers were already seeing the effects of climate change, including on farm incomes, and acknowledged irrigators were taking steps to mitigate climate impacts, but noted they cannot do it alone.

“Every day, farmers work the land and see the effects of changing weather patterns and climate firsthand. They are proactively taking steps to address these challenges, including doing more with less water and investing in new technologies, but other industries need to step up and do their part to help arrest our march towards higher temperatures,” Mr Jeffrey said.

“As the growers of our food and fibre, and one of the heavy lifters in our economy, irrigated agriculture understands the impact climate change will have and the devastation to farms and productive capacity if action isn’t taken. Farmers also stand ready to be part of the solution, for example, through carbon sequestration.

“The agricultural consequences of inaction are less water, fewer competitors and growers, reduced food and fibre production, higher prices, more imports, and lower quality and standards, all of which are unacceptable outcomes. 

“We have also seen the likely impacts of climate policy on trade and note the significant risk of further limitations being placed on our available markets if action isn’t taken.

“Growers need the confidence provided by sound climate, water, energy and environmental policies. NIC is calling on the Federal Government to support a national goal of net zero by 2050, and to provide the support industry and communities need to make this transition.

“Farmers are able to be part of the solution and we are calling on all governments, industries and stakeholders to work together to achieve this goal.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890