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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 39 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 Indeed agriculture is the only sector that has significantly reduced net gHg emissions since 1990, the base year for gHg emissions reporting under the Kyoto agreement. all other sectors have significantly increased emissions over this period, due to rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for manufacturing, cars, air conditioning, plasma Tvs and other luxury items to fuel the consumer lifestyle that australians currently enjoy. It is only major reductions in net emissions from agriculture which allows australia to claim that it will go close to meeting its Kyoto target. The agO estimates that most of this reduction has come from land use changes, in particular the phasing out of broadscale tree clearing, which has reduced our net emissions by 76 million tonnes CO2-equivalents per year. Red meat producers have largely carried the cost of this massive reduction in net emissions, because most of this change has occurred on grazing lands. The savings in net emissions each year due to these changes more than offsets the total gross emissions attributed to red meat production each year by the australian greenhouse Office. The red meat industry has reduced its own total gross emissions by 6% and reduced emissions per tonne of production by more than 12% as a result of efficiency gains made since 1990. all forms of modern agricultural production that produce relatively cheap and abundant food to feed the australian population and deliver export income to the economy emit gHg to varying degrees. Organic production methods can satisfy some of the environmental concerns of some consumers but most organic foods are unable to sustain the production levels required to feed growing populations, and, where yields are significantly lower, organic production will not reduce gHg emissions per unit of food produced. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a key area of research at MLa. It is not only environmental benefits but also production benefits for producers that are gained in this portfolio, which recognises that emissions are lost energy and if captured can be better utilised for improved animal production. MLa will continue to invest significant funds into research and development on behalf of red meat producers to ensure the advances made in the last 17 years continue into the future. Dr Ian Johnsson, General Manager Livestock Production Innovation, Meat & Livestock Australia agriculture leads in greenhouse reduction according to the australian greenhouse Office’s (agO) latest data (2005), agriculture is the second largest source of gHg emissions in australia, but it is still a long way behind electricity production (17% vs 50% of total emissions).