GHG – Not All Hot Air

It is hard to go anywhere these days without hearing about greenhouse gas emissions.

All levels of government, both here and around the world, are looking at ways to legislate a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

They are doing this by driving large companies to report their emissions regularly. This includes not only their own emissions, but also the emissions of linked entities in their supply chain (scope 3).

Unfortunately, this means agriculture will get drawn into this emissions reporting process, even though at this stage we are still exempt. At CANEGROWERS, we decided that there is no point discussing emission reduction targets unless we know what is happening within the industry, and on-farm using current farming practices.

To that end CANEGROWERS commissioned a report into the GHG emissions on farms in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, and the Mackay regions, inputting all activities that relate to emissions.

When compared to a similar analysis done in the early 2000s, the report found a huge 30% reduction in on-farm emissions during that period due to practice change.

How is this possible you might ask?

As modern growers, sugarcane growers use practices that are not only more efficient, but they also reduce emissions.

It also means that we are one of the lowest emitters of CO2 per tonne of cane in the world. Sugarcane growers have a good story to tell, and we are proud of our current achievements.

The next issue is, now that we have an assessment of emissions, how do we continue to reduce GHG emissions in the future?

Fertiliser and fuel are the main area of emissions on farms, as growers we know reducing GHG on-farm is not as simple as using less fertiliser, as we may all go broke with that strategy.

Fertiliser manufacturers and other input suppliers will have pressure on them to come up with lower emission blends as well.

In truth the next big step will no doubt come down to technology that probably hasn’t been developed yet, that reduces reliance on non-renewable energy inputs.

CANEGROWERS is proud of what we have achieved so far as growers, and we will continue to work to advocate for sensible rules in this space. We know we all can play a sensible part in the need to reduce emissions, but we should also recognise the great work already undertaken by Queensland’s sugarcane growers.

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