Climate protection: No strict conditions impo...
Climate protection

No strict conditions imposed

Imago / Westend61
When it comes to climate protection in animal husbandry, Australia is to rely on technical progress, innovations and, above all, on methane-reducing feed additives.
When it comes to climate protection in animal husbandry, Australia is to rely on technical progress, innovations and, above all, on methane-reducing feed additives.

AUSTRALIA, Canberra. Australia aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. There will be no methane gas reduction measures. Livestock farming should not be overburdened.

Australia has announced its intention to become carbon neutral by 2050. Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Liberals officially announced the deadline for the zero emissions target, but did not name any specific measures to achieve the goal. What was emphasized, however, was what not to do, namely overburden mining and agriculture or tighten existing reduction targets by 2030. According to observers, this is mainly due to the coalition partner of the National Party, which put on the brakes strongly. The party's leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, for example, pushed through that a specific target for reducing methane gas emissions will not be part of the climate change plan.


More than 30 countries, including the European Union and the US, are known to have committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. At the climate summit, they plan to push for more countries to follow suit; Australia, meanwhile, will not be one of them. The government does not want to take measures "that will have a negative impact on our agricultural sector", Morrison also stressed. Instead, the focus will be on technical progress, innovation and, above all, methane-reducing feed additives. Agriculture, on the other hand, is to play a leading role in reducing CO2 emissions by making land available for carbon sequestration in the soil and receiving compensation for this.

Storage measures on the land could contribute up to 20% to carbon neutrality, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said. Australia has 90 mill. ha of productive farmland, he said, which is a very significant carbon sink and could become an even more significant one. But critics question whether such a large offset of CO2 emissions in the soil is possible. In smaller New Zealand, land-use conflicts are already occurring due to heavy afforestation to compensate for climate gases.

Farmers key to climate protection

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) highlighted that farmers and their land were key to achieving Australia's 2050 climate target. "We are pleased that the government's plan, by not regulating or taxing, is a departure from the failed Kyoto approach, where farmers were regulated without compensation or recognition," NF president Fiona Simson said. Instead, she said, it recognised what farming had already done to reduce its emissions since 2005. The government was also seeing the huge opportunities to use farmland as a carbon sink by offering financial incentives to do so, she added.

Looking ahead to the World Climate Change Conference, the NFF urged the government to also pay attention to and represent the concerns and interests of agriculture there. "The policies and programs adopted there must enable Australian agriculture to continue to grow," Mr Simson stressed. He also said the debate should not be about putting animal agriculture in the dock. There is no reason to focus more on methane from livestock, he said. Australia is already well on the way to reducing emissions from livestock. Methane was part of a larger natural cycle in agriculture and technologies to reduce it in the gut were well advanced, he said. A net zero target cannot mean zero emissions from livestock methane or the elimination of livestock.

Climate protection must not be a trade barrier

According to Simson, care must also be taken to ensure that climate protection is not misused for "de facto trade barriers". The European Union has already started a dialogue on this, the NFF president noted. More generally, she called on her government to speak up for agriculture in international fora and also to ensure that the profession is involved. At the recent UN Food Systems Summit on the world food system, for example, farmers were completely under-represented, while activist groups were given a big stage to promote their vision of a world without meat, she said. Australian farmers, Simson said, had already done a lot for climate protection and sustainability and would also take further steps if they were supported and these were economically viable.

Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE

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