Calculating the emissions from a ‘standard cow’

An opinion piece from Australia businessman Tom Quirk, who spent 15 years as an experimental research physicist, university lecturer and Oxford don.

Although agriculture is only about 2 per cent of our GDP, two thirds of its products are exported. In fact agriculture is responsible for 16 per cent of our merchandise exports, reported in great detail by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and totalling $27 billion in 2006-07.

The Department of Climate Change has modelled Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and estimated that it is 15 per cent of our total emissions. The certainty of our export statistics is in stark contrast to the unverifiable estimate of the agricultural emissions.

Our agricultural exports are enjoyed by others elsewhere on the planet, yet the government is proposing to draw into an emissions trading scheme a major export activity where any extra cost imposition has little to offer in changing behaviour and much to fear from unintended consequences. The proposal of a carbon tax on agriculture must rank as one of the more stupid aspects of the rush to set up emission trading in carbon dioxide.

Let us begin with the science… (click here for article in full).