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New international climate study paints a bleak picture

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 25 Sep 2007

In more bad news for farmers a new report shows that global warming is likely to produce a serious decline in world agricultural production over the next fifty years, with Australian coping a 16% to 27% drop in our rural productivity, according to a new study by a senior international economist.

"This is a wake-up call for Australian governments to get real about climate change and start developing future-proof strategies to protect our rural industries," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The book "Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country" by William R Kline, released by the Peterson Institute for International Agriculture and the Centre for Global Development this week highlights the uneven impacts climactic shift will have on agriculture across the globe, with the worst impacts expected in developing countries.

"The message is very clear for Australia that we need to be acting now to tackle the problems posed by climate shifts in our agricultural zones or our rural sector will continue to decline," said Senator Siewert.

"Australia has been a world leader in agricultural science and our farmers are some of the most experienced in dealing with a harsh and varying climate – but the extent of predicted change poses a huge challenge."

"Given that research into new plant varieties and farming systems can take ten or twenty years to get from the lab to the farm gate, we cannot afford to be dragging our heels on such a crucial issue," said Senator Siewert.

"The research paints a particularly bleak picture for plans to develop agriculture in the North, with a predicted decline of 33% to 41%," said Senator Siewert.

"Clearly developing the north isn't going to be the panacea that some in the Coalition seem to think it is."

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