Adaptation to climate change varies across Australia, depending on the climatic zone and the agricultural practices at play, whether farms are raising livestock, grains, orchards, stone fruit, wine grapes, fibres, or aquaculture.
By 2050, climate change is projected to halve the irrigated agricultural output of the Murray-Darling Basin region, which currently accounts for 50% of Australia’s irrigated agricultural output by value (about $7.2 billion per year)Climate Council
This is just one of the economic impacts to the agriculture sector if adaptation is not undertaken, and this will only get worse if the mitigation strategies outlined below are not implemented.
Broadly speaking, adaptation to climate change falls into a number of different categories:
|Information and forecasting||Water management|
|Farming practices||Forestry management (including fire management)|
- Adoption of an agreed set of metrics to measure progress towards ‘sustainable agriculture’.
- Reporting on our national progress against these metrics.
- Investment in the CSIRO and BOM to improve data, modelling and forecasting across the productive regions of the Australian continent and coastal waters
- Invest in RDC activities to promote adaptation and mitigation strategies
- Encourage reforestation (through planting of native vegetation), reduction in land clearing and soil carbon capture (through the use of no-till techniques, planting native grasses, and other regenerative farming techniques)
- Encourage the reduction in use of fertilisers, pesticides and intensive farming practices
- Create a fund for farmers who deliver environmental benefits from their land. The Easiest mechanism would be to tie the ‘reward’ to carbon capture practices such as reforestation and soil carbon.
- Create a levy allowing urban and rural Australians to more fairly share the costs of sustainable land management
- Undertake a comprehensive water audit for the Murray-Darling Basin
- Establish a new Murray Darling Basin Plan based on up-to-date and more accurate models of water falls, flows and usage
- Fire management practices including integration of traditional fire management practices
- A national fleet of water bombers (planes and helicopters) to be deployed to wildfires nation-wide on a needs basis on an estimated annual cost of $25 million
- Invest in R&D for efforts into new plant species and management practices