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Government misleads on NZ & costs farmers $12 billion

Media Release
Adam Bandt 9 Feb 2021

The Morrison/McCormack government isn’t just lying about New Zealand’s climate plan, it has cost farmers over $12 billion by repealing the carbon price and exposed them to new carbon tariffs, said Greens Leader, Adam Bandt. 
Releasing new modelling on a lesser-known element of the price, the Greens said Australian farmers would have been earning $50 a tonne, or $11 billion over the next decade, selling carbon abatement to the EU. Instead, farmers are now facing the prospect of paying a $50 a tonne tariff on food exports, because of the Liberal and Nationals 7 year sabotage of climate policy.
The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), implemented by the Greens-Labor Agreement, was designed to give Australian farmers access to global carbon markets - which are now booming at $50AUD a tonne in the EU. By repealing the carbon price, the Coalition cut off farmers’ access to the open market. 
Now, the agricultural sector faces the other side of the carbon equation, as our major trading partners, from the US to the UK and the EU look to put carbon tariffs into future trading arrangements. The proposal under consideration by our trading partners would require exporters to pay the EU carbon price equivalent for the amount of emissions generated by making the product and shipping it to market.
The Deputy Prime Minister also said that New Zealand had exempted agriculture from its net-zero target, whereas the agriculture sector is in fact included and the current NZ commitment is to reduce all non-biogenic methane emissions to net-zero, while reducing emissions of biogenic methane to 24 to 47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050, including to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030. Further, these targets are now under review by the NZ Climate Change Commission.
“The Nationals have hurt farmers to the tune of $12 billion and exposed farmers to international carbon sanctions,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt said.
“Not only is the government hurting farmers financially, it is lying to them about New Zealand’s climate plan.
“Because of the Nationals and Liberal Party, Australian farmers first have missed  out on booming carbon trading markets and now they are facing a climate tariff on their exports.
“Michael McCormack knows so little about carbon policies in agriculture he’s been caught this week misleading the Australians on the inclusion of farming in New Zealand’s climate targets.
“When the Nationals and Liberals effectively killed off the CFI, amidst the reckless repeal of the strong, effective climate policies the Greens negotiated with Labor, they were squandering a massive economic opportunity for Australian farmers.

“These markets are growing around the world. In recent years they’ve gotten even more lucrative.
“Farming communities could have had billions of dollars flowing for years now and Australia would not have burned through as much of its carbon budget. 

New modelling shows the magnitude potential revenue lost:

  • The total lost export income of Australian farmers so far (2015-2020) has been $1.4 billion dollars;
  • The expected future lost income during the initial phase of the Paris Agreement (2020-2030) will be a further $11 billion;

“The government’s anti-climate ideology has shot farmers in the foot. They backed big polluters at the expense of industries and ventures that could have been a major boon for Australian farmers,” Bandt said.

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