Carbon emissions and climate change
The Australian dairy industry is committed to contributing to Australia’s efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions. The dairy industry supports an emissions intensity approach to enable growth while focusing on reducing emissions relative to production. A key opportunity for the industry to reduce emissions intensity is through reduced energy use. The dairy industry however does not support any carbon tax or pricing scheme that results in a less competitive position for a trade-exposed industry, such as dairy.
Dairy farmers have been innovative and made significant progress in energy reduction on-farm. To date, 40 per cent of dairy farms have installed renewable energy technology. Energy-efficient equipment upgrades, such as variable speed drives on vacuum and milk pumps, can involve large up-front costs with payback periods ranging between four and 20 years.
Additional funding is required through the Emissions Reduction Fund and other programs to support energy assessments and support the capital cost for technology changes in agriculture, to reduce the payback period to a level at which farmers will be comfortable to invest. Continued investment in research or emissions reduction opportunities in dairy farming practices is also important to progress farm management options that provide both economic and environmental outcomes.
Emissions intensity provides a measure of long-term impact relative to production. It facilitates growth of the industry while promoting a high degree of care and responsibility for the environment. This is particularly relevant for dairy, given the strong expectation that production will increase in the coming years to meet growing global demand.
On the matter of climate change, ADF believes that:
- Ensure adequate funding for emissions reduction programs and related research, to assist the dairy industry in reducing emissions intensity, including through energy efficiency assessments and transitioning to new energy technology.