Australian beef industry cuts cattle emissions

by Bryan Salvage
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NORTH SYDNEY, Australia – Australia’s beef industry has achieved a 6.5% reduction in emissions per kilogram of beef produced since Kyoto protocol reporting began in 1990, announced Meat & Livestock Australia (M.L.A.) during a recent environment debate at the University of Queensland titled, “Can Red Meat Be Green?”

Australia’s beef industry had been focused on increasing productivity while reducing emissions, said David Palmer, M.L.A.'s managing director. "A reduction in emissions per kilogram of beef produced is a great achievement for Australian cattle farmers,” he added. “The Australian beef industry has increased production by 25.4% over the same period, which demonstrates we are able to produce more beef with less emissions.”

Cattle managed in the right way can be part of the solution, Professor Tim Flannery said. "I believe that in a world facing a food shortage and a climate crisis, livestock represent a potent weapon in the fight to stabilize our climate," Flannery added.

Corey Watts, formerly from the Australian Conservation Foundation and now regional projects manager at The Climate Institute, called for industry-wide targets to be set for emissions reduction, innovation and investment in low-emissions farming and the need for broader political support for a package of "carrots and sticks".

"The industry is committed to being transparent, which is why we are being proactive and holding public debates to put the issues on the table and discuss them,” Palmer said. “The industry has also recently launched a Web site called www.RedMeatGreenFacts.com.au in order to provide the current facts and figures on the industry's environmental performance across emissions, water and land management in one easy location.”

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