Australia pledges to cut methane by 30 per cent


Australia has signed a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent over the next decade.

By signing up to the US-led global methane pledge, the federal government has joined 122 countries that have already adopted the non-binding pledge.

The US, the UK and the European Union are already signatories.

It’s hoped the agreement will lead to a reduction in the potent greenhouse gas across several industries.

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the government would look for opportunities to cut emissions from agriculture, with livestock key contributors to methane, as well as in the energy and waste sectors.

“By joining the pledge, Australia will join the rest of the world’s major agricultural commodity exporters including the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia in identifying opportunities to reduce emissions in this hard-to-abate sector,” Mr Bowen said.

So far, the government has committed funding from the National Reconstruction Fund towards reducing methane in agriculture, and put $8 million towards commercialising the seaweed industry that when fed to livestock, reduces the emissions they produce.

The second stage of the Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock Program will also sink $5 million into new technologies to reduce emissions in the sector.

The Nationals have previously raised concerns about the pledge and say it could drive up meat prices.

But Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said red meat producers had already stepped up to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Red meat producers are already ahead of the curve, reducing their emissions by 59 per cent since 2005,” he said.

“In addition, industry has already committed itself to carbon neutral meat production by 2030 and is well on the way to achieve those goals.”

The pledge has attracted the support of the Nationals Farmers Federation, the Red Meat Advisory Council and the Cattle Council of Australia.

“We are supportive of the Commonwealth signing up to the pledge, provided there are no new taxes or reduction of herd numbers,” CCA head John McGoverne said.

“The Australian beef industry is already on track to reach net zero emissions without reducing livestock numbers.”

Mr Watt has previously ruled out imposing a price on methane emissions as has been done in New Zealand.


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