AUSTRALIAN farmers will be hit hard by the costs of climate change, with agricultural productivity losses expected to exceed $19 billion by 2030, according to a new report from the Climate Council.
Without urgent action to alter our emissions trajectory, losses for agriculture and labour productivity will also hit $211 billion by 2050 and $4 trillion by 2100, according to Compound Costs: How Climate Change is Damaging Australia’s Economy.
Farmers for Climate Action chief executive officer, Verity Morgan-Schmidt, said Australia’s agricultural sector had an ambitious target to be a $100 billion industry by 2030.
“However, climate change threatens this ambition with more intense droughts and changing weather patterns already undermining agricultural productivity,” she said.
“As climate change continues to worsen extreme weather; agricultural flow-on effects will seep through the entire economy. This includes food price hikes, fluctuating food quality and varying crop seasonality.
“This report needs to be a wake up call for all sides of politics as we head into the Federal election. It’s time for us to rise to the challenge and support farmers to implement climate solutions while delivering a smooth transition to clean energy.”
Other Key Report Findings:
- Australia’s Murray Darling Basin is currently worth about $7 billion per year and accounts for roughly half of the country’s irrigated agricultural production. Climate change is projected to halve the irrigated agricultural output of the Murray Darling Basin by 2050.
- By 2090, wheat yields on the 4,200 family farms in WA that produce half of Australia’s wheat are projected to fall by 41-49pc if emissions remain high.
- Previous severe droughts have reduced Australia’s GDP by around 1pc; estimates suggest that increasing drought frequency and impacts in the future may reduce GDP by 1pc every year.