Prominent Australian scientists, Richard Eckard and Mark Howden have held talks with livestock industry representatives to consider an alternative method for measuring livestock methane emissions.

The Paris Climate Agreement uses a model called GWP100 (Global Warming Potential 100) which averages the impact of methane emissions over 100 years.

Cattle Council has called for a full scientific assessment of the alternative GWP* (Global Warming Potential – star) model which looks at the direct warming impact of methane from year to year.

CCA President, Tony Hegarty said the talks were constructive and confronted important issues.

“This marks the start of the sensible conversation Cattle Council wants to have,” Mr Hegarty said.

“Professor Howden outlined several challenges in adopting a new model, and I thank him for that.

“Among those is the question of whether other countries would allow a switch to GWP*.

“For now, the question for Cattle Council is whether the measurement is right.

“We believe if the system is broken it should be fixed – it doesn’t matter if it’s easy or hard.

“Professor Howden also outlined part of the Paris Agreement that allows us to supplement our calculations with an alternative model such as GWP*.

“At the end of the day, we just want to make sure our carbon bill is added up correctly.

“By contrast, Professor Eckard outlined how the existing model may overstate the impact of agricultural emissions.

“Whatever the case, Cattle Council has a duty to make sure the system is fair and the best science is available to policy-makers.

“Both scientists are highly respected, and I thank them for sharing their expertise with producers.

“This is a conversation the cattle industry needs to have, and I thank all sides for their professional and constructive approach.”