Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Time to find the best science for measuring methane

Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) is calling for a full scientific assessment of modelling used to calculate the impact of beef on climate change and the alternative GWP* model.

CCA President Tony Hegarty said with the broader red meat industry committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, it is important to use the best available science to measure the impact of cattle-produced methane.

“We have a responsibility to make sure we use the best available science in our response to climate change,” Mr Hegarty said.

“We are asking the scientists who have the expertise to assess both models and tell us which is more accurate.

“Any scientific assessment undertaken by government should consider both models and we stand ready to take that scientific advice.

“The current GWP100 model pegs the impact of methane against carbon dioxide and averages it out over 100 years.

“It is well-established that carbon-dioxide emissions can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. By contrast, methane emissions are entirely depleted by year 12.

“The alternative GWP* model measures the impact of our current emissions and subtracts the impact of methane that has since broken down.

“Where the impact of cattle is concerned, GWP* could provide a more accurate approximation of the actual warming that would be created by methane over its lifetime.

“Carbon in methane is also sequestered from the atmosphere through pasture production in the first place.

“The grassfed beef industry is committed to doing its fair share when it comes to addressing climate change.

“In managing more than 79% of Australia’s agricultural land, beef producers understand they will play a key role in the solutions to decarbonise the economy while feeding the nation and helping feed the world.

“Our stewardship gives us the opportunity to work with government and the wider community to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“It is vitally important that the best scientific information and tools available are being used to inform domestic and global policies and ensure our resources are put to work in the most effective manner.

“It is only fair for our sector to ask if our carbon bill has been added up correctly.”

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