The Labor Government recently announced it would sign up to the methane pledge agreed at the Glasgow COP, and join efforts to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent this decade. While agriculture remains a major source of methane emissions, the Budget channels more support to boosting the meat industry than driving down its emissions.
Under the badge of ‘Support for Regional Trade Events’, Beef Australia, Casino Beef Week, LambEx and others will receive Government sponsorship totaling $12.3 million over 3 years. Additionally, $400 million will go towards Beef Corridors to improve roads central to the beef supply chain.
Conversely, there is one budget measure aimed at reducing agricultural methane – the $8.1 million for commercialising seaweed feed supplement which can significantly reduce methane from livestock. Subsidies to the meat industry could be better directed at efforts to decarbonise that industry, or towards the production of healthy and sustainable food, as recently recommended in a new study published in Nature Communications.
Fugitive emissions, predominantly from gas and coal production, are the second largest source of methane, with research suggesting that coal mines alone could deliver two-thirds of the emissions abatement required to meet the global methane pledge. The Budget allocated just $10 million for research and development for methane abatement in the resources sector.