Livestock emission figures 'grossly exaggerated'

North Queensland Register

06 Nov, 2009 10:32 AM

THE NSW Farmers’ Association says new research shows the contribution of livestock to greenhouse gas emissions has been grossly exaggerated.


President Charles Armstrong says the association welcomes the peer reviewed study by scientists at the University of California as it clears up a lot of issues.


“The study concluded that direct livestock emissions only account for 3pc of global emissions, showing claims currently being made about livestock are farfetched,” Mr Armstrong said.


“This report identifies numerous errors in the previous analyses of livestock emissions, including the use of elevated Global Warming Potential conversion factors for methane, and including livestock CO2 respiration in the account but not including CO2 fixation by pastures.


“The report also makes the important point that the major emissions associated with livestock are from land clearing for farming land in developing nations and not from the cattle themselves.


“It would be perverse if Australian climate change policy and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme drives meat production to nations with lower environmental standards.

“One commentator recently claimed that the methane from (Australia’s) livestock creates more warming than all our coal fired power stations.

"The hide of this type of exaggeration is amazing."


Readily available official Australian Government data shows that coal emissions are three times greater than emissions from livestock.

Further, under the Kyoto Protocol accounting rules used by the Government, emissions that are sequestered as part of the annual production cycle by plants and in the soil are ignored.


“Global demand for meat is set to double by 2050 in line with increasing population and changing food preferences in Asia," Mr Armstrong said.


"To meet this demand, we need policy that supports sustainable meat production in countries such as Australia."


A copy of the report Clearing the Air: Livestock’s Contribution to Climate Change can be found at ittees/cprs

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