By Rupert Gregg
A recent study by Stephen Poore at Oxford making claims about land use and all that goes with it has had some publicity. Even an Oxford man can overdo things sometimes and here it is. Gosh those animals only provide 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of protein while taking up 83 percent of farmland and 60 percent agriculture’s greenhouse emissions. Something must be done, or not? Look around as you drive around through the vast tracts of land in the pastoral zones of Australia. Is it really a surprise that hundreds of thousands of hectares have grazing animals in numbers without a crop in sight? There are millions of hectares on the planet unsuitable for any agriculture but will support a well- managed livestock industry quite readily.
Then there is terrible charge about 60 percent of agricultural emissions. Maybe so, but every atom of carbon emitted by one of these sinners came from a plant they ate. That plant in turn got the carbon from, oh yes remember high school biology? Yep, it’s from the CO2 in the atmosphere. Animals don’t create carbon they just help recycle it along with the plants they eat. Net contribution to the dreaded greenhouse gases is zero. So here we again with endless wailing about the evils of animals and the vandals who eat them and how we could all be better if we turned all that land back to whatever use or non-use. The whole land management picture is way more complicated than that, but by all means Stephen Poore can join the happy ranks of vegetarians and try to save the planet. The rest of us can remain happily omnivorous without any fear damaging the climate.
The really interesting question is how it is that we have this ghastly mess on our hands? How is it that anyone signed onto a deal where emissions from animals are counted but the CO2 sequestered in the plants they eat is not? Incidentally only the animals being managed by people in countries with governments stupid enough to buy this croc are in the frame here. Don’t expect to hear about animals, and the people who live off them, in the Americas being affected by this. There is possibly the exclusion of Canada, while Trudeau is there who what lunacy will be agreed? Beyond the EU nothing will happen in the rest of the vast Eurasian continent. The EU will cheat of course, it’s in the DNA. Africa? Not a chance.
That leaves us. An interesting test for Morrison and friends is coming up fast. We have just signed up for more Paris agreement garbage, watch this space.
B. Rur. Sc. UNE
Lifetime experience as a farmer in Southern Midlands of Tasmania and in industry representative organisations.