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Climate Change May Change Cows for Kangaroos

08 October 2008

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Government's top climate change advisor has said that kangaroos would be a viable alternative to sheep and cattle as producers find themselves unable to cope with the carbon costs of an emissions trading scheme.

Prof Ross Garnaut has also predicted a shift in meat consumption and production towards other "low emitting" products such as chicken, pork and fish.


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"Kangaroos emitted negligible amounts of methane, which could be the source of international comparative advantage for Australia in livestock production"
Prof Ross Garnaut

In his final climate change report, Prof Garnaut said the carbon costs of an emissions trading scheme would hit sheep and cattle hard because of the substantial methane gases they emit, reports the Weekly Times Now.

There were also few opportunities to reduce these emissions cost-effectively, the report said.

"By contrast, kangaroos emitted negligible amounts of methane, which could be the source of international comparative advantage for Australia in livestock production," it said.

"For most of Australia's human history...kangaroo was the main source of meat. It could again become important.''

According to the Weekly Times Now, the report referred to recent research that showed kangaroo numbers could increase from 34 million to 240 million by 2020, potentially replacing an expected drop in sheep and cattle numbers (by 36 million and 7 million respectively).

The meat from just 175 million kangaroos could replace lost lamb and beef production and become a more profitable activity once carbon prices exceeded $40 a tonne, it said. There would also be a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by about 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents a year.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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