Beef 2021: Clearing the air on cattle emissions


·         Cattle producers are in the cross hairs from various groups, but “need to be proud and speak up”

·         Consumers want to be reassured the meat they eat is produced in a responsible way, but from farmers, ‘not a PR campaign’.

·         Aim of cattle industry should be climate neutrality, not carbon neutrality


James Nason, BEEF Central (AU)



IF an omnivore decided to go vegan for one year, the science shows that would reduce that person’s carbon footprint by 0.8 tonnes of greenhouse gases.


Is that a lot?


Not when you consider a single flight per passenger from the US to Europe would amount to 1.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, US air quality scientist Dr Frank Mitloehner told about 600 Australian cattle industry stakeholders via video address to the CQ University symposium at Beef 2021 on Monday.


“Meaning you would have to go vegan for two years to save enough greenhouse gases to offset one flight that you might make to Europe.”


If the entire US went vegan, that would reduce the carbon footprint to the US by 2.6 percent.


This science isn’t new, so why isn’t it cutting through?


That was a common theme of most questions Dr Mitloehner received from the floor at the end of his presentation.


Why are scientists, media and recipe websites still drawing on incorrect comparisons of methane from cattle and methane from fossil fuels to demonise beef?


Dr Mitloehner’s response suggested he is just as surprised too.


“When you take fossil fuel out of the ground then you are taking carbon that was in the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago, and you are pulling that out and you are burning it, and that is all new additional carbon...