Water Week

EWN Publishing

Kangaroo burgers can save the planet: switch from beef cuts GHGs by 12mt, says UNSW report

Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007

A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, said a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 was achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, as well as a change of diet, wrote Mathew Murphy in The Age (11/10/2007, p.B1).

Beef destroys environment: According to the report, ‘Paths to a Low Carbon Future’, slicing beef consumption by 20 per cent, while “politically challenging”, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 million tonnes on 1990 levels. “Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” it said. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”

CO2-dump mirage: Dr Diesendorf also attacked governments for failing to make a commitment to a short-term target for greenhouse gas reduction. He said a target for 2020 was vital to prevent average temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees. “The dearth of interim targets may be explained by both major parties’ hopes that domestic emissions can in future be addressed by unproven technology for capture and burial of emissions from coal power plants,” he said. “Yet even the World Coal Institute concedes that only nine coal power plants with carbon capture and storage plants are likely to be operating by 2020.”

Wake-up call: The best-case scenario outlined in the report would reduce Australia’s emissions by 33 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 through proven technology and energy efficiency. Greenpeace, which commissioned the report, said it should act as a wake-up call to the major parties.

The Age, 11/10/2007, p. B1

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