Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Australia Institute responds to criticism from the National Farmers’ Federation

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The Australia Institute, 1 June 2021. Australian Rural & Regional News sought and was provided this response by the Australia Institute

Statement in response to National Farmers’ Federation criticisms of Australia Institute Banking on Australia’s Emissions report

“It is disappointing the National Farmers’ Federation has chosen to interpret the Australia Institute’s report Banking on Australia’s Emissions as a criticism of the agriculture sector,” said Richie Merzian, climate & energy program director at the Australia Institute.

“The Australia Institute recognises that Australia’s farmers are experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, and similarly recognises their contribution to reducing emissions in the land sector.

“The report in question highlights that the Prime Minister’s claim of a 19% reduction in Australia’s emissions is misleading and the basis of the claim relies on tricky accounting to conceal a lack of progress in transitioning to a low carbon economy. The report does not attack agriculture, rather it exposes the lack of work being done in other sectors of the Australian economy to reduce emissions. Monday’s release of Australia’s quarterly emissions data further confirms the dangerous lack of transition in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and waste.

“This should be of particular interest to the agriculture industry for two reasons. Firstly, farmers are on the front line of the climate crisis, and their livelihoods are one of the most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Secondly, and perhaps of greater concern is — as the Australia Institute’s 2018 report Harming Farming highlights — to achieve Australia’s Paris Emissions Target, if industries where it is easier and cheaper to reduce emissions such as electricity and transport don’t lift their weight, it will fall to industries where it is far more expensive and difficult such as agriculture to shoulder the burden.

“It is regrettable that the NFF has chosen to criticise the Australia Institute and its research rather than advocate for its members and address the double-blow to farmers of Australia failing to take sufficient action in the highest-emitting sectors of the economy.”

Related stories: Why so negative, Australia Institute?; New Analysis: Australia doing less than other countries on climate


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