This week I have attended the Farmers For Climate Actions Risks and Rewards of Farming in a Changing Climate in Orange.
Of course, it was fantastic to hear about all of the wonderful things that are being done to address climate change issues and to measure change that helps us identify how we are travelling.
The day was sponsored by Central Tablelands Local Land Services, Department of Primary Industries, Orange City Council, Biodiversity Conservation Trust and head a fantastic line up of speakers, with the day being kicked off by Richard Bull, Chair of Chairs, Local Land Services.
The first presentation from Dr Lynette Bettio from Bureau of Meteorology explained that we have more frequent and more extreme events and these events are occurring where they haven’t occurred before.
Australia’s climate has warmed just over 1°C since 1910 leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events. The 2018-19 summer was the hottest on record with the average 0.9°C
Dr Steven Crimp from the Australian National University Climate Change Institute followed on, explaining that Australia is unlikely to meet its Paris carbon emissions reduction target of 26 – 28%. Global efforts need to be tripled by 2030 to hold warming at 2°C and ramped up five-fold for warming to remain at 1.5°C
In Orange, annual minimum and maximum mean temperatures have warmed. Dr Crimp explained that minimum temperatures have increased by as much as 1.2°C, with annual maximum temperatures cooling slightly. Between 1985 – present, the frequency of annual mean minimum temperatures between 7°C and 8°C has tripled.
Cutting to the chase, with this information, based on the spatial analogues for 2030, assuming a warming of .7°C and 5% less rainfall, Orange’s future climate may be similar to areas like Hamilton, Goulbourn, Canberra and Eden, just as examples.
So how do we go about addressing this issue? Fortunately, we do have options to either adapt or improve the projected outcome and many of these actions are extensions of those that are currently being undertaken including zero tillage, retention of crop residue, extending fallows, changing row spacing and traffic and erosion controls.
This morning session finished off with a presentation from Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer, University of Canberra, speaking about climate change, drought and regional wellbeing. She spoke about what influences wellbeing and resilience and spoke about ‘self efficacy’ and the results of Regional Wellbeing Survey.
The self-efficacy is based around a person’s belief in ability to succeed in a specific situation or accomplish a task. The links to wellbeing and an understanding of farm systems and management processes and regenerative practices were key.
The remainder of the mornings sessions were focussed on economics, trade and finance, which were thought provoking.
Of course, it was also great to have local input from Guy Webb and Soil C Quest in the Managing Carbon in the Landscape afternoon session, with many other interesting speakers, including presentations on carbon trading, innovation and farming systems that I just couldn’t get to hear!
Key note speaker Richard Heath, from the Australian Farm Institute finished off the presentations encouraging attendees to think about options moving forward, a National Strategy for Climate Change and Agriculture, and the importance of highly credible public policy research.
There were so many facets of this Conference, that I just don’t have space to cover off on, but if you get the chance, check out some of these names and Farmer’s for Climate Action to gain knowledge. Knowledge is power!