Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Farmers for Climate Action has welcomed amendments to the Safeguard Mechanism package, including a hard cap on the emissions driving climate change, reduced use of and improved scrutiny of carbon offsets, and a freeze on the most controversial method of creating carbon offsets, known as “Human Induced Regeneration” (of tree cover).

The climate safeguard mechanism, which requires big industrial emitters to reduce emissions intensity by 4.9% a year to reach the required targets by 2030, passed the House of Representatives on Monday night. The bill will go to the Senate this week where it is expected to pass with the support of Jacqui Lambie.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Fiona Davis said the group, representing more than 7700 farmers across Australia, has pointed out many times the perils of unlimited carbon offsets at a capped price taking over too much farmland.

“This agreement contains sensible measures and is a good start. The substance is in the execution and we’ll be watching closely as this unfolds,” Dr Davis said.

“The idea of having corporations justify their use of offsets for more than 30% of their baseline is a good one.”

“A review of offsets in 2026-27 by the Climate Change Authority is also welcome, and the key to both is in the implementation.”

“Giving incentives to businesses who are willing to reduce their actual emissions is a logical step, especially as it reduces reliance on offsets.”

“It’s vital that all Chubb Review recommendations are implemented by the first of July to ensure the integrity of offsets.”

“Minister Bowen has previously said that a 43% emissions reduction is a floor, not a ceiling, and we hope to substantially exceed 43%.”

“Farmers have experienced devastating droughts, bushfires and floods driven by climate change, and this is driving up insurance premiums.”

“We need to reduce emissions to protect Australian farms so we can farm forever.”

“We also want farmers and rural communities to be able to grasp the huge opportunities a shift to a low emissions economy brings: tens of thousands of renewable energy jobs for regional Australia and diversification of farm income into selling offsets, which can provide income during drought.”

“These measures are a sensible beginning. We compliment the Government, Greens and cross bench on negotiating.”

“We hope all MPs, including those from the Coalition, join future negotiations to create more certainty for farmers.”

The safeguard mechanism is one of three pillars of the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, and, along with the other two pillars of an emissions reduction credit scheme and a process to purchase emissions reductions, aims to help achieve Australia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets of 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 and 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. 

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