The Climate Change Authority today released its research report on ways landholders can improve profitability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver broader environmental benefits at the same time. These objectives are known as multiple benefits.
For example, a farmer could establish a windbreak of native trees that leads to increased on-farm productivity, emissions reductions and helps native species.
Improving beef cattle herd management can reduce emissions, while increasing productivity. This can be achieved with feed additives, reducing unproductive animals in the herd and lowering the herd’s average age—in short getting stock off the land and to market sooner.
The Authority Chair, Wendy Craik said ‘We know farmers are already doing some great things on their land but we wanted to understand why it wasn’t even more widespread. We also wanted to see if there are some new ideas out there that could offer additional revenue streams to farmers and also help the environment.
It turns out that there is a range of barriers to multiple benefits on the land. Some relate to a lack of information, some relate to the costs of taking action (participating in government programs for example) and some types of action—like putting up windbreaks—require upfront capital, which can be hard to get’.
In a key finding, the Authority is recommending a new targeted investment fund be established to provide the necessary finance for farmers to invest in on-farm activities that deliver genuine multiple benefits.
The Authority is recommending a number of other approaches to drive genuine multiple benefits on the land including a voluntary online reporting tool to reduce costs; a new community of practice to coordinate policy; new Emissions Reduction Fund methods for projects with multiple benefits; and developing a standard to certify carbon credits that provide other benefits such as biodiversity.
The Climate Change Authority is an independent statutory agency, established to provide expert advice on climate change policy. In the final report of its 2016 Special Review into Australia’s climate goals and policies, the Authority recommended further research be done on the multiple benefits for farm profitability and the broader environment that could result from well-designed emissions reduction policies on the land. This report responds to that recommendation.
Media contact: Aileen Muldoon
Phone: 0419 112 503