Dear Prime Minister Morrison,
My name is Jody Brown and I’m a grazier from Longreach in Central Western QLD, Iningai country. I am a small business owner, my family and I run a cattle station. And I am a new mum. But managing agricultural businesses and looking after our pastures, livestock and underlying eco systems is getting increasingly challenging as the impacts of climate change bite.
Our region is now in its 8th consecutive year of drought. We have been dealing with ongoing droughts of increasing severity for the better part of the last two decades.
Without serious cuts to emissions, by the time our daughter is nearly 30 (by 2050), Longreach could be spending over 40% of the year in 40°C plus heat;¹ this will not only affect the health and well-being of the families living out here, but also has direct and negative impacts on the viability of our pastoral industry. Rising temperatures increase rates of evaporation and transpiration; drying out our soils and pasture plants faster, and simultaneously exposing our livestock to heat stress and loss of productivity.
Conversely, there are many economic and social opportunities that come with positive action on climate, and our regional communities and the agricultural sector should not miss out on these benefits.²
Emerging carbon and environmental markets have great potential in terms of mitigation and adaptation measures that benefit our farmers and graziers, but unless we also cut fossil fuel emissions significantly, the future of our region looks grim.
Right now, we still have a window of opportunity to flip that future towards one of prosperity and sustainability. Committing to net zero by 2050 is an important first step. But frankly, for the future generations wanting to make a living on the land, we need to make ambitious cuts to our emissions by 2030.
The NSW Government recently adopted an ambitious plan to reduce emissions by more than 50% on 2005 levels by 2030; creating investment and thousands of new jobs in the regions in the process.
Australia’s current 2030 targets are not consistent with limiting global warming to well below 2°C. It is suggested that if Australia was to be a part of a global effort to keep warming to 1.5°C, we would need a 74% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.³
Other countries are setting bold targets to tackle climate change. They are creating entire new industries, and the jobs that come with them. If we don’t act now, we’ll miss a huge opportunity for our regions.
Now is the time. Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, please protect farming families by making substantial emissions reductions this decade. Australia must take the necessary action that will protect our climate and create thousands of jobs and opportunities across the regions. For this we need our federal government to come up with a credible and ambitious plan.
This will give our daughter the possibility of farming sustainably, long into the future, should she so wish.
¹ Australian Conservation Foundation, My Climate 2050
² Ernst & Young, How can Australia’s agriculture sector realise opportunity in a low emissions future?
³ Climate Targets Panel, Australia’s Paris Agreement Pathways: Updating the Climate Change Authority’s 2014 Emissions Reductions Targets