Senator Matt Canavan
A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation found that the average kilogram of liveweight beef produced in Uruguay produces 33 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
The figures for Uruguay are relevant for Central Queensland because like them our cattle production system is largely grass fed.
Only about half the liveweight of a cow ends up in edible products so the carbon intensity of your steak would be roughly 60 kilograms. It will cost money to reduce the carbon dioxide in beef production either by reducing stocking rates or by buying the “magic pills” that some reckon will cut the methane that a cow burps or otherwise emits during its life.
Most economic models estimate that a “carbon price” of about 20 cents a kilogram would be needed to achieve “net zero emissions.” At that price, you would pay an extra $12 per kilogram for your red meat at the butcher. That would almost double the cost of the rump steak for your next BBQ.
The new Labor government flagged last week that it would join this madness and sign Australia up to the Global Methane Pledge. This pledge commits countries to reduce methane emissions, including those made by cattle, by 30 per cent by 2030. And, the government is committed to Australia becoming “net zero” by 2050.
Why do politicians keep coming up with ways of making it harder to balance family budgets, when Australians are already struggling to make ends meet? Interest rates, power prices and rents are already going up lots. Now the government wants to make it more expensive to buy a rib fillet?
And all this for no or little global benefit. Three of the top four largest methane emitters, China, India and Russia, have refused to sign the methane pledge.
The government claims that it will not put a tax on cattle or force producers to reduce their herd sizes. But these are the same guarantees that Jacinda Ardern gave Kiwi farmers when she signed up to net zero less than 5 years ago. Now the NZ Government is planning to tax its sheep graziers with a so-called “burp tax”.
In the Netherlands, farmers were told to cull their herds by a third to meet European climate targets that the government had agreed to with little fuss years before.
Research for the United Nations says that people can only have 14g of red meat a day to meet net zero goals. So if you have a steak tonight make sure it is good, you won’t be allowed another for 2 weeks!
This new Pledge also encourages “financial institutions” to take “further parallel specific domestic actions”. This is code for saying that banks will be free to make it a condition of a loan that you comply with stocking rates consistent with the global methane pledge.
Already, ANZ has announced that it would impose “low carbon” deadlines for agriculture. The Global Methane Pledge will be weaponised by every climate activist in a high rise tower in Sydney to inflict more pain on the long suffering customers of our big four banks.
Many modern, big companies seem to think that they have the right to determine how you will power your home, what you can say online and, now apparently, even what you can eat. Of course, the people that work for these large companies will shrug off the higher prices for a steak at the fancy restaurants they frequent.
Meanwhile the average Australian will look forward to a “Tiny Tim” future where maybe, just maybe, we are allowed the indulgence of beef once a year on Christmas Day.