A new study by the University of New South Wales has found that farming kangaroos instead of sheep and cattle in Australia could cut the greenhouse gases produced by grazing livestock by almost a quarter.
Methane from the foregut of cattle and sheep constitutes 11 percent of Australia’s total greenhouse emissions but kangaroos produce negligible amounts of methane. Removing 7 million cattle and 36 million sheep and replacing them with 175 million kangaroos, which would produce the same amount of meat, could lower the total national greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent a year.
Methane’s warming potential over a 100-year time frame is 21 times higher than that of carbon dioxide but its chemical lifetime in the atmosphere is only 8 to 12 years compared with carbon dioxide’s 100 years. Therefore, reducing methane production is an attractive way of quickly mitigating global warming.