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As the world moves to low carbon economies, what does this mean for Agriculture?

An article written by Keith Symondson & Stacey Bell

Key Points:

· The world is moving to lower carbon economies.

· There is pressure on larger companies to reduce emissions.

· They will pass this pressure on to their customers.

· There are opportunities for agricultural businesses to profit in this environment.

· You need to be able to measure where you are before you can see where you need to go.

Over the past few months, the issue of climate change has once again returned to the front burner (pardon the pun). In April, as host of the 40-nation climate summit, US President Joe Biden opened the event by urging all attending leaders to “overcome the existential crisis of our times”. If you open any paper or look at any social media channel, discussions abound on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s clear that most of the world believes in manmade climate change, that the consequence of this is an existential threat to humans, and that governments are acting accordingly (or if you’re cynical, at least trying to give the perception of acting accordingly).

Currently, Australia appears to be sitting on the wrong side of history in regard to this discussion. We were excluded from a list of almost 80 leaders invited to speak at a climate summit hosted by the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year, where organisers made it clear that Australia lacked the climate action to earn a place. While Scott Morrison did better this year at the President Biden-led climate summit, Australia still only made it to 22nd place in a field of 40 (just after Bhutan).

At the end of 2019, Keith authored an article for Farmanco Facts on carbon emissions in agriculture. In the article, I pointed out that governments around the world are increasingly looking at greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in many industries and it was very likely that at some point, they would start to legislate, particularly in industries where it was felt that action was not being taken to reduce emissions.

It looks like this is happening, with increasing focus on GHG emissions. Even if Australia’s government does not act, the actions of other governments and perhaps more importantly, customer sentiment, in many of our client markets is changing, with potential for a major impact.

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