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AUS: Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Media Releases issued by the Bureau of Rural Sciences part of Agriculture Fisheries & Forestry - Australia

3 September 1999

Reducing Greenhouse Gases In Australia's Livestock Industries

The Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) launched a publication today that highlights the role Australia's livestock industries can play in helping reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting the Kyoto Target. Implications for the Australian Livestock Industries details the outcomes of a two-day workshop organised by BRS.

BRS Executive Director, Dr Peter O'Brien, said the publication would help inform industry, policy makers and scientists about ways our livestock industries can help Australia meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

"Australia's livestock sector contributes around 12 to 14 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions," Dr O'Brien said. "This is considerably higher than most other developed nations, where the figure is around 3 to 4 per cent.

"It also makes the sector Australia's third largest source of greenhouse gases after the energy and transport sectors. Unfortunately, most of the attention has traditionally been on those sectors, with a limited focus also on land clearing.

"This risks alienating our livestock industries from the greenhouse debate and leaving them without a voice as Australia develops its responses to Kyoto.

"And, just as significantly, it could deny them the chance of enjoying the benefits that will come from adopting new technologies and more efficient management practices," he said.

"Under the Kyoto Protocol, Australia must meet an emissions target for the period 2008-2012 of 108 per cent of the net emissions in 1990. Current projections of industry growth suggest it may be possible for the livestock sector to meet this target.

"However, if we can't put in place new practices and technologies, it may be difficult to do so without limiting industry options for expansion.

"Meeting the Kyoto Target. Implications for the Australian Livestock Industries details several proposals that could potentially reduce greenhouse emissions while at the same time increasing animal productivity.

"It's important that these proposals receive wider acceptance and begin to attract increased R&D funding. And it is also important that that R&D happens in Australia, so we can take advantage of the subsequent commercial opportunities," Dr O'Brien said.

BRS is an independent scientific bureau within Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia (AFFA), and provides scientific advice to policymakers in areas such as fisheries, forestry, agriculture, gene technology and land and water management.

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