Australia’s red meat and livestock industry has slashed net greenhouse gas emissions by 65 per cent in just 15 years, a new report has revealed. The report by CSIRO and Meat and Livestock Australia examined emissions caused by the production of beef cattle, sheep for meat, and goats, as well as domestic processing. Using data from the 2020 Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, it found the sector emitted 51.25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG in that year. The figure represented a 6.4 per cent year-on-year drop, and a 65 per cent decrease compared with the baseline year of 2005. MLA managing director Jason Strong said the drop could be partly attributed to reductions in livestock numbers leading into 2020, following years of drought in key production regions. “The number of livestock on the ground has an influence on industry’s overall emissions, and we know these numbers will fluctuate with seasonal and market conditions,” he said. “This highlights the importance of MLA’s investment in emissions reduction strategies to reduce enteric methane and other agricultural emissions along the value chain.” Australia’s red meat industry has been annually benchmarking its GHG footprint since 2015, and has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2030, known as the CN30 initiative. Mr Strong said more than $140 million had been invested in the initiative since it was launched in 2017, with industry striving to maintain productivity as it works towards the goal. “(CN30) is highly ambitious with clear targets for the industry, while also going hand-in-hand with the industry’s goal of doubling the value of red meat sales by 2030,” he said. “The CN30 target is focused on achieving our goals through innovation, allowing us to maintain stock numbers while also delivering even greater environmental outcomes. “We know there will be variance year-to-year in industry emissions, but this report highlights that the overall trend is that the industry is decreasing its emissions. “Although, it is important to note that reporting against the CN30 target accounts for real biophysical change only attributed to the red meat sector, and is unrelated to activities in the carbon market or with purchased offsets.” GHG emissions from the sector totalled 10.3 per cent of the national total in 2020, according to the report, with emissions attributed based on animal numbers, feed intake and resource use. The report highlighted areas for improvement such as methods to estimate emissions currently excluded from the calculation. These included the transport of livestock and emissions associated with crop production for feed.