Greenhouse gas emission and carbon tax Essay Example


Agriculture and the future of worldwide food security are fundamental in climatic change negotiations. This has not been an exception case in Australia where extreme mitigation measures such as carbon tax have been effective since 2012. The policy was among the largest national policy reforms for businesses of recent years. Australia’s plan was to cut carbon emissions into the atmosphere and boost renewables. In the attempt to achieve this, it started pricing one ton of carbon at Aus$23 in the mid of the year 2012 for the country’s biggest emitters, and gradually increase the price by 2.5 % on an annual basis until 2015. The Direct Action Plan is a policy prepared to encompass programs for reducing carbon (IV) oxide emissions by 5% by the year 2020. The plan is at the core of Emissions Reduction Fund meant to permit industries to sell carbon abatement back to the government (“Climate Change”).

Climate change is generated by the enhanced effect of the greenhouse. The average worldwide temperature of the earth has risen since the year 1900, and it is probable that the rate and time of the warming are greater compared to any time in the past 1000 years. The trends of warming in combination with changes in sea level and rainfall, appear to be now discernible above the natural decadal and century-scale variability (“Climate Change”).

South Western Australia and Murray- Darling Basin are the major agricultural producing areas, which have experienced significant impacts from the change in climate. To this end, Australian has developed plans to cut research funds for climate change. It is crucial that the government’s efforts to address changes in climate are redouble, and not cut down if it is to meet future climatic challenges (“Climate Change”).

Approximately a third of the total carbon mitigation efforts are necessary to prevent extreme climate change that is, a rise in global temperatures of not more than 2oc drop in the category of the terrestrial carbon; the carbon that is locked up in forests and soils that is released in case of land clearance, or sequestrated in case positive agricultural practices are used and forestry reserves are encouraged to expand or rather left alone (“Climate Change”).

  1. Predictions

The past trends indicate that the climate in Australia is changing with a likelihood of more extreme and more frequent hot weather events. The key predictions for the next twenty years include longer summers that are hotter, with an increasing temperature and general decrease in rainfall. On the other hand, some parts will undergo highly intense rainfall (including the North-east and North- west), resulting in a notable rise in flood incidences (“Climate Change”).

Greater reduction in agricultural production is probably between the 2050-2100 years brackets. IPCC’s latest reports predict that changes in climate are estimated to continue for at least the rest of this century. CSIRO, the joint Bureau of Meteorology 2014 report demonstrates that contemporary, temperatures are on average and almost one-degree centigrade hotter compared to 1910 (“Climate Change”).

  1. Predicted Changes in Rainfall Pattern

Precipitation pattern changes are among the key impacts of climatic change and one of the hardest to predict. In the long-term, however, with higher variation in rainfall patterns, there is a likelihood of occurrence of more extreme weather events. Australia will encounter more severe and more frequent floods and droughts, with an overall increase in variability of rainfall. Rainfall is expected to fall in the Southern Australia and will affect the major farming regions. For instance, Murray- Darling Basin and South- Western Australia will witness a decline in precipitation by about 33% and 27% respectively (“Climate Change”).

Predicted Rise in Temperature

In addition to variations in the rainfall patterns, the IPCC also expects an upsurge in the average sea and land temperatures across Australia. A warmer climate will heighten the transpiration and vaporization rates so that irrigated crops will need more water. Combined with a fall in precipitation in some regions, this will aggravate demand for water and put pressure on the farmers. Rise in temperature is also predicted to make alterations in the migration patterns for many diseases and pests (“Climate Change”).

Meat and dairy output will as well be affected. Increasing temperatures will result in a higher temperature humidity index (THI), which measures the potential stress of heat on livestock animals. The THI has been increasing since the year 1960 in the Murray dairy region. Continued rises will lead to a drop in meat and dairy output. Australia also expects an escalation in the occurrence of bushfire because land has continued to increase and the frequency of extreme fire days throughout South-Western and South- Eastern regions (“Climate Change”).

  1. A) The Rationale and Theoretical Underpinnings of Carbon Tax

The introduction of the carbon tax has an economic rationale that is multifold. To start with, it makes up the primary market failure that leads to increasing in the concentration of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels and other activities that handle the production of greenhouse gas results in global warming and adverse climatic changes. The costs of the adverse effects such as the extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, increase in the sea level, along with other harmful impacts are met by the general society, even including the future generation. Most products’ market prices do not include this sort of costs, resulting in the waste of the resources’ utilization and the excessive emissions from the societal view. Carbon tax implementation adds these costs in the market prices of goods (“Climate Change”).

Moreover, some offer that carbon tax is important and can be used as a tool for certain sectors to cut down the emission of gas at a considerably low cost. It can be quite effective compared to the command-and-control approach that focus on sector based and source mandates for popular technologies or possess. Because the technology that develops reinforces the reduction of carbon gas emission is still not widely available, it is a better method to switch fuel resources that emit lower carbon, or otherwise facilitate reduced consumption of the fossil fuels. Considering the use of market-based policy, to formulate a common price on the emission is significant to create incentives for a wide range of the carbon emissions from households, firms, and other activities. For the business sectors, the decline in emissions, which is attained by the replacement of higher with lower carbon fuels, will offer the businesses chances to make invests in the energy-saving energy (“Climate Change”).

  1. Comparison of the carbon tax with the direct action plan


Both the two policies are expensive to implement, and they need a heavy budget with an overtime adjustment to deal with rising emissions reduction targets

  1. They are long term since they operate within a big duration of time.

  2. Both aim at cutting down the emissions of carbon gas into the atmosphere.

  3. They emphasize on tree planting as among the mitigation measures of climate change.

  4. They both have penalties for emitters of carbon beyond a certain limit set by the government.


Carbon tax

  1. The carbon price is set by the Australian government

  2. The resulting forces of the market determine the quantity reduced in emissions of the carbon gas

  3. There is certainty on the part of the businesses about the carbon prices on emissions.

  4. The carbon tax raises the government revenue, which can be utilized for compensation to motivate productivity or to promote low emissions technology.

Direct action plan

  1. Unlike in carbon tax, the government makes an intervention in directing households and businesses to cut down emissions.

  2. Closing high emissions power plants or factories, subsidies for low emissions products and restricting new investment in high emissions sectors are typical examples.

  3. Unlike in carbon tax, there is no increase in government revenue in the case of the direct action plan.

  1. A) Risks facing the agricultural sector as a result of climate change

The physical impacts of these changes have the capacity to affect many investors ranging from personal to institutional ones since they get exposed to dangers of losing their assets. In agriculture, this risk is apparent with a considerable impact of the recent drought. The country’s food supply has been affected as a result of damage to the crops influenced by the tropical cyclone, Larry. It’s therefore discouraging on the part of investors to invest in the agricultural sector (“Climate Change”).

There has been greater noticeable variability in rainfall, prolonged droughts, and extreme weather events are expected. In Australia, transition in the climatic pattern can disturb the agricultural sector and badly affect the nation’s capability to produce food (“Climate Change”).

Temperatures rise, and more variable patterns of precipitation. Likewise, predictions of an increase in temperatures and rainfall patterns changes are forecast for Australia and will certainly affect its major regions relied on agricultural production local food security (“Climate Change”).

B) Opportunities

Services and products to be on demand in carbon constrained agricultural sector

  1. Certified low carbon agricultural products

That reduced carbon product needs to be certified as such is probably to be a growing trend in the change to a low-carbon economy. Effective inclusion of Australia’s exports in carbon labeling schemes could offer fundamental changes for reduced global carbon emissions by incentivizing heightened trade. A carbon accounting exercise employing the analysis of a life cycle would not yield similar results if applied across a wide range of agricultural products. Trading activities in certified low-carbon agricultural goods is a worldwide mitigation strategy on climate change. However, with the exception of a well-designed methodology of accounting, there are dangers that a percentage of low carbon products are not recognized and as a result, the producers stand to lose out (“Climate Change”).

  1. Biofuels and other environmental goods

The most efficient greenhouse gas if bioethanol, produced from sugar cane in agreement with greenhouse gasses. But, concerns that land clearance may have been exercised to produce different types of biofuels have offered this kind of low carbon fuel negative pressure. In the current list of environmental services and goods, bioethanol is not recognized in circulation (“Climate Change”).

  1. Adaptation of strategies of agricultural sector to Carbon-constrained world

Adaptation in the agricultural sector should be achieved through the following criteria:

Inputs require alteration, species and varieties for heightened drought and heat shock resistance, salinization, and flooding; changing rates of fertilizers to maintain fruit and grain quality; changing timings and amounts of irrigation and other management of water; changing the location and timing of cropping activities (“Climate Change”).

There should be the management of basins for delivery of a more efficient services to curb water erosion, logging, and leaching of nutrients. In the enhancement of this, technology ought to be widely used in water harvesting and soil moisture conservation; transportation and usage of water in more effective ways (“Climate Change”).

Income should be diversified through the integration of activities such as raising livestock, fishing production especially in the rice paddies. Pathogen management and wider use of integrated pests, use and development of varieties of species resistant to diseases and pests is necessary. It should also incorporate monitoring programs and improve the quarantine capabilities (“Climate Change”).

It is important to match livestock rates with pasture production, altered rotation of pasture, modification of grazing times, forage and animal species alteration, integration within crops/livestock systems including the utilization of adapted forage crops, fertilizer application re-assessment and the use of supplementary concentrates and feeds (“Climate Change”).

The Australian government should alter the management of forests, and include softwood/hardwood species mix, timber production, and harvesting patterns, and rotation periods. It should as well enhance shifting among species or areas of high productivity under the new climatic conditions, landscape planning for minimization of fire and insect damage, fire management systems adjustments; start burning prescription for the reduction of forest vulnerability to elevated insect outbreaks as a non-chemical insect control; and adjust schedules for harvesting (“Climate Change”).

Moreover, the government should introduce forest conservation, forest-based and agroforestry enterprises for rural income diversification, alteration of catch size and effort and improvement of the breeding areas; reduce fishing levels for the sustenance of fish yields and stocks (“Climate Change”).

Synergies in adaptation and mitigation

  1. Reduction of emissions of methane gas through livestock and rice systems is a strategy for mitigation that is as well recommendable for irrigation water efficiency- it can moreover source income while improving cultivated agro-ecosystems performance, and enhancement of the welfare of human beings (“Climate Change”).

  2. Nitrogen II oxide (N2O) emissions should be cut down for improved groundwater quality and reduced biodiversity loss (“Climate Change”).

  3. Management of animal manure waste systems should be integrated to incorporate biogas capture and use for low methane and nitrogen (II) oxide that can lead to heightened demand for farmyard manure and generate income for the animal and husbandry sector (“Climate Change”).

  4. Restoration of land through controlled grazing for enhancement of reduced sequestration of carbon soil, which have positive impacts on the productivity of livestock, desertification reduction and as well offer social security to people in the times of extreme events such as famine (“Climate Change”).

  5. Agroforestry practicing for the promotion of sequestration of carbon soil while improving the function of the ecosystem and resilience to climate extremes through soil fertility enrichment and retention of soil water (“Climate Change”).

To conclude, these two measures undertaken should be made effective in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change. The human race is at risk since the extreme conditions will sooner or later through droughts and famines, wildfires, and other dangerous risks associated with them. To achieve this, these measures should be imposed on all nations whether developed or developing, since in the long run, this is a global catastrophe.

Work Cited

«Climate Change and the End of Australia — Rolling Stone.» Web. 31 Oct. 2015.