The NSW Irrigators’ Council has made an historic commitment to aim for carbon neutrality of the NSW irrigation industry by 2030. The aspirational target, voted on at the NSWIC General Meeting, comes as industry groups representing diverse sectors across Australia continue to urge Governments to wake up to the economic risks of climate inaction.
“We get the science, we get what has to happen, so we’re just going to get on with it and do our bit,” said CEO Claire Miller.
The NSW Irrigators’ Council also voted to support Australia reaching net zero emissions by 2050, but that this target should be achieved ‘preferably earlier’.
“The irrigation sector is on the frontline of climate change, but is not a major contributor to the cause,” said Ms Miller. “We need to see all sectors across the economy pulling their weight to achieve national net zero.”
The industry will work with research and development organisations and partners to develop a carbon neutrality roadmap, but government investment is needed to support the transition.
“The environmental reasons to get serious about climate change action speak for themselves, but let’s talk about the economic reasons, too,” Ms Miller said
“The economy of the very near future will demand and expect nations to demonstrate their commitment to reducing emissions. To remain globally competitive, our leaders must demonstrate Australia is doing our bit.
“It’s only a matter of time. We are already seeing the shift, with the EU recently warning Australia may face carbon tariffs if it does not commit to strong 2030 targets.
Irrigated agriculture is on the frontline of climate change impacts. Irrigators are the last to be allocated water after towns and rivers, and the first to have the tap turned off when rivers and dams start running low.
With inflows already nearly halving in the Murray-Darling Basin since 2000, food and fibre production is suffering as less and less water is left over to be allocated for irrigation.
NSWIC will be shortly publishing a report on the impacts of climate change on irrigated agriculture in NSW, including ways we want to, and need to, be part of the climate solution.