Kangaroos and greenhouse gases

There is global urgency to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the agriculture sector this reduction must be balanced with meeting increasing global protein demands.

Australia’s goal is to reach net zero by 2050 and the Australian red meat industry target is to be net zero by 2030 while also doubling production. Achieving these objectives relies on offsets because methods to reduce enteric methane (CH4) emissions (that is approximately 10 % of Australia’s total emissions) are not available. If activities are not put in place soon, it will be too late for sequestration to have any reasonable effect.

Extreme inputs into offsets or emission reductions are needed now, and we recognise that this is difficult for the livestock industry under their current initiatives, with research not delivering desired results.

In a recent report we suggest that to assist the industry achieve its goals, that the number of kangaroos that are culled as pests and left to die, should instead enter the regulated commercial harvest industry and be utilised as a protein source and a low emission meat. Kangaroo protein could partially replace livestock protein and thus reduce livestock emissions.

Further still, improved kangaroo management could see total grazing pressure reduced and increased carbon storage in soil and vegetation. Even further still, there is the potential for improved kangaroo management  to promote a wealth of additional co-benefits including improvements to landscapes, biodiversity and ecosystems, sustainability and welfare.

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