Call to review cattle’s contribution to global warming

A field of brown cows.
17 June 2020

Beef producers are calling for a “full scientific assessment” of the modelling used to measure livestock’s contribution to global warming.

But one climate expert has argued that to do so could ignore more than 50 years of research, and could create global inconsistency when tackling climate change.

The Cattle Council of Australia says temperature, rather than carbon dioxide emissions, could be a better measurement for agriculture.

CCA president Tony Hegarty said it was important the “best available science” was used to measure the impact of the livestock industry.

“We think agriculture needs to be looked at with the point of view of temperature, rather than carbon dioxide accounting, and we don’t think the discussion has been had yet,” Mr Hegarty said.

The council suggested the alternative Global Warming Potential model, which subtracts the impact of methane from emissions, should be considered.

“We know carbon dioxide aggregates, it doesn’t disappear. On the other hand, methane, after it’s released, it breaks down,” Mr Hegarty said. “That short-term cycle needs to be taken into account.”

Read the full article on The Weekly Times website, featuring commentary by Prof Mark Howden