Break in drought to cause increase in Australian emissions: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-17 09:29:55|Editor: ZX
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CANBERRA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Experts have warned that a break in Australia's record drought would likely cause the nation's greenhouse gas emissions to rise.

Emissions from Australia's agriculture industry fell 4.2 million tons, or about 5.8 percent, in the 12 months to May 2019, the biggest decline in any industry.

However, Climate Council senior researcher Tim Baxter warned on Thursday that a break in the record-breaking drought on the east coast would boost agricultural production significantly and lead to a rise in emissions.

"That big drop in agriculture was twice the emissions reduction that came from the record rollout of renewables. But it's all built on the suffering of Australia's farmers under drought," he told Nine Entertainment newspapers.

Across the eastern half of New South Wales, which has been hit by the drought and the subsequent bushfires, is expected to receive up to 40 mm of rain in the next week.

Australia's annual carbon emissions have been between 532 and 533 million tons since 2017.

Mark Howden from the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University (ANU) said that livestock emissions alone would rise by four million tons if the drought broke.

"A break in the drought could push our emissions so they are again trending upwards," he said.

"Farmers will as quickly as possible build up their breeding herd and this will result in a rapid increase in recorded greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

"During drought animals' feed intake is likely to have dropped and that further reduces emissions. When it breaks cattle are likely to eat a lot more and increase emissions."