Farmers need facts on beef, climate change
Most red meat producers will be surprised to hear that they have been committed to being “carbon neutral” by 2030.
They were not asked, but the National Farmers Federation agreed to it in the recently released Road Map for Industry Growth. It is also the policy of the MLA and the Cattle Council.
All groups have accepted that Australia must meet its international agreements on climate change and fear not only global warming, but trade barriers, if we are not seen to be meeting our agreement to reduce emissions by 26 per cent from the 2005 level.
Australia’s big three industries, responsible for the most emissions of greenhouse gasses, are power generation, transport and the livestock industry.
When ruminants eat grass, methane is expelled.
In time it breaks down and becomes part of the carbon cycle. In green economics, methane is given a debit 23 times that of carbon dioxide equivalent, with no credit for the grass that grows to replace it.
This is the reason the green movement is encouraging the move to vegetarian or “fake meat”.
Unless the mathematics change, the industry will never be carbon neutral in the conversion of pasture to red meat.
This means that carbon credits will have to be obtained, currently valued about $15 per tonne, a figure that the “Bulls” say will soon reach $40 per tonne.
The most obvious source of these credits is forestry, re-vegetation and sequestering carbon in the soil, but can the target be met in the next 12 years?
Australia is a big exporter of beef but, compared with India which has an estimated 305 million head and Brazil with 210 million, we are a very minor players with our 26 million.
I wonder what commitment to being carbon neutral they have made.
Australian farmers are entitled to know what industry leaders have agreed to in their name.
How many tonnes of carbon credits are required to be carbon neutral by 2030? What will it cost and who will pay?
On ABC 7.30, on November 27, former prime minister John Howard, expressed the view that he was an agnostic on man-made climate change.
The Howard government was the first to take action to counter climate change, introducing clearing restrictions to meet the Kyoto targets. Has he changed his mind?
What a tragedy if we were to destroy Australia’s economic competitiveness and the sun, not emissions was the cause of climate change.
Only a royal commission into the facts, not ideology, would convince Australians one way or the other. Murray Nixon OAM, Gingin Private Property Group president, Wembley