Australian cattle industry cuts emissions by 6.5% per kg of beef produced

Posted by Josette Dunn on 13th August 2010

* Australia’s beef industry has consistently reduced emissions intensity for producing beef since 1990
* Continued R&D aims to find ways to further reduce emissions while increasing productivity

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) this week announced that the Australian beef industry has achieved a 6.5% reduction in emissions per kilogram of beef produced since Kyoto protocol reporting began in 1990 .

The announcement came at an environment debate titled ‘Can Red Meat Be Green?’ that featured leading environmentalists, including Tim Flannery, Corey Watts and Arron Wood.

Speaking at the debate, MLA’s Managing Director David Palmer said that the industry had been focussed on increasing productivity whilst reducing emissions.

“A reduction in emissions per kilogram of beef produced is a great achievement for Australian cattle farmers. The Australian beef industry has increased production by 25.4% over the same period, which demonstrates that we are able to produce more beef with less emissions”, said Mr Palmer.

The debate was held at the University of Queensland for local high school and university students as well as members of the general public, who were given the opportunity to hear from, and ask questions, of the panel members:

* Tim Flannery, High profile environmentalist and Australian of the Year 2007
* Arron Wood, Young Australian of the Year for Environment in 2001 and United Nations Individual Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment in 2006
* Corey Watts, Regional Projects Manager, The Climate Institute
* Michael Lyons, Queensland beef farmer
* Beverley Henry, Manager Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change from Meat & Livestock Australia

Professor Tim Flannery discussed his belief that cattle managed in the right way can be part of the solution.

“I believe that in a world facing a food shortage and a climate crisis, livestock represent a potent weapon in the fight to stabilise our climate,” Professor Flannery said.

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”.

David Palmer said the industry acknowledges its contribution to Australia’s emissions profile, which is why it is undertaking extensive R&D in order to find ways to further improve the efficiency of production.

“By improving the efficiency of our production the Australian beef industry can further reduce our emissions while producing much-needed food for Australian and global consumers,

“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. The industry has also recently launched a website 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”, said Mr Palmer.