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  • Rikki Lambert

Free trade can help save the planet from climate change

Australia's peak agricultural forecasting agency claims removing subsidies overseas for inefficient farming would help combat global warming, in a report released on Tuesday.

The report 'Emissions, Agricultural Support and Food Security' claimed all three aims can be achieved through the removal of agricultural subsidies and tariffs.

Executive Director of ABARES Dr Jared Greenville said the global community needed to find a way for agriculture to reduce emissions while also feeding the world’s population.

“Agriculture accounts for about 12 per cent of global emissions. That’s nearly 6 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions, including methane, each year.
“Emissions from agriculture are unavoidable – they’re a fundamental part of the biological processes that go into food production. But we know the sector will face increasing pressure to contribute to emissions reductions in order to reach Paris targets.
“Current levels of global tariffs and subsidies have created significant inefficiencies in the global food system, which is bad news for consumers, global producers and the environment.”

Hear the full interview with Dr Jared Greenville on the Flow podcast player below:

ABARES noted that Australia has one of the lowest levels of distorting agricultural subsidies and tariffs across the 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries - as well as a strong performance compared to major emerging economies.

Dr Greenville said dumping tariffs - the hallmark of free trade policy - would assist in combatting climate change:

“Globally, there are more efficient ways to farm and produce food, and by eliminating global tariffs on food trade and subsidies to farmers, supported by rules to prevent deforestation, it’s possible to make progress on food security, economic development and emissions reductions,” he said.
“New ABARES modelling shows that through coordinated multilateral action, policymakers can deliver a win-win scenario for the world: cutting global emissions, raising economic growth and improving food security with greater food consumption and lower food prices.”


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