New report by Dr Mark Diesendorf: Pathways to a low carbon future

What would Australia look like in 2020 if our Governments got serious about climate change?

According to Dr Mark Diesendorf we can cut our greenhouse pollution by 30% by 2020, but only if we get really serious about shifting from coal to renewables, massively increasing energy efficiency and decarbonising our transport fleet. We will also need to eliminate land-clearing and deforestation and change some of our lifestyle choices to make significant reductions in greenhouse pollution.

With both Federal Labor and the Coalition refusing to set short-term targets to reduce greenhouse pollution this report is sure to be a conversation starter. The take-home message is we can achieve deep cuts to greenhouse pollution, but the longer we wait the more difficult it gets. And as Nicholas Stern highlighted, the longer we delay the bigger the impact will be for our economies and well as the environment.

Abstract of the report:
“Interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential to put
Australia on track toward the deep emissions cuts required by 2050. This
report finds that by 2020, emission reductions of greater than 30 per
cent below 1990 levels are possible, but only with a wide range of concerted
actions in the energy, industry and land-use sectors. If the contributions
from energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial
sectors are combined into a single category, energy efficiency emerges as
the major source of greenhouse gas reduction to 2020. Renewable electricity
with gas cogeneration could provide the largest potential “wedge” of
supply-side reduction. Other large potential emission savings could be
obtained from halting land clearing and cutting fugitive emissions from
fossil fuel production and distribution. Urgent policy development and
implementation, by both federal and state governments, is needed to
facilitate these and other technologies and measures.”Download the full report: Pathways to a low carbon future

  • Jeremy Carpenter

    Mr. Diesendorf’s report is quite informative and interesting. However, the statement in the report regarding a shift from Australian beef consumption to an increased kangaroo hunt and consumption as a means to combat global warming, is both inexcusable and unacceptable. This is because of two things: 1. It is unethical for any human being or organization to promote the mass-hunting and consumption of any native wild species; 2. Such a change would do very very little, if anything, to reduce global warming pollution. Far more significant are the fact that a lower meat consumption or vegetarian or vegan diet would be much more significant and wise; and , furthermore, it is human overpopulation and misuse of natural resources that is most significantly increasing global warming.

  • graham castles

    You’re not seriously endorsing this rubbish are you? People are working hard to save animals like kangaroos which will be affected by climate change and you’re suggesting we listen to somebody who wants us to eat them?

    If you are serious about educating people to reduce their carbon footprint, don’t muck around with this kind of thing> Tell them to go vegetarian. This is ridiculous.

  • Just to clarify,this report was commissioned by Greenpeace, but that doesn’t mean we agree with all of its recommendations or comments- in fact this is exactly what it says on page 2 of the report.

    Greenpeace is not advocating that people eat kangaroo meat, despite some misreporting in the media.

    We are disappointed by this media coverage and think it trivialises the important issues this report exposes.

    Mark Wakeham, Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

  • I for one would fully support increasing kangaroo consumption. Once you get past the instant response from the vegetarian lobby it just makes so much sense.

    kangaroos are designed for our environment, cattle and sheep are not. In many people’s opinion the introduction of cattle and sheep is second only in its destruction of the environment to broadacre cropping – Have a think about that.

    The reason aboriginals did not have crops is becuase Australia is not suited to this style of agriculture as we are now starting to find out. Having come out of a period of 75 years of unusally wet weather and returning to normal drought conditions broadacre crops are failing.

    From an invironmental impact point of view consider this
    1. cut down all trees
    2. plough up ground destroying native grasses ( now you have destroyed the habitate for most native animals left after you cut the trees down
    3. plant genetically modified soya – Yippe
    4. Spray with herbicide incase any native plant may try to re grow
    5. Spray with pesticite – got to kill the insects ( these are the basis of the food chain)
    6. complain the rain didn’t come and crop will be poor.

    DAH !

    Time to learn to eat kangaroo and the native flora that is suitable and stable in this country !

  • Brett Pritchard

    I eat kangaroo and I am a Greenpeace supporter. I have seen the destruction hard-hooved animals have caused to our fragile ancient soils and do not touch beef or sheep. Agriculture contributes more to Australia’s CO2-eq emissions than transport, with about 3/4 of that from methane belching cows and sheep (over 300 times the warming potential of CO2). Millions of kangaroos are culled in Australia each year and left to rot, yet the meat is so healthy and low in fat they feed it to heart patients at Adelaide Hospital. Wake up Australia, stop looking in your tuckerbag from merry old England, and change your diet today. P.S. Baked possum is pretty nice too, and you can’t go past deep fried Bogun moths.

  • Leisa Moore

    Tha Kangaroo industry is controlled by cruel, money hubgry people who have no compassion for what happens out there by shooters. This Industry is one of the cruelest in the world and Greenpeace is encouraging Australians to eat more Kangaroo meat. Shame on you all!! We criticise the Japanese for their cruelty in regards to Whaling and are horrified by the live animal transport trade but turn a blind eye to what is going on in our own backyard. We are involved in the largest mass slaughter of native animals in the world. I guess you are proud of that as well!.
    Leisa Moore

  • S.Ellul

    This morning’s 25th Oct SMH article ‘Population stress takes earth to its limits’ states that the United Nations’ Global Environment Outlook-4 report reveals a scale of unprecedented ecological damage. I checked out the report ‘ Pathways to a low carbon future’ on the internet and read about Mark Diesendorf’s pathway for the killing of kangaroos. It is inconceivable that Greenpeace would have even partly funded a report which purports this to be in any way a solution to the problem of global warming. But there it is… and I for one will not be supporting your organisation in the future.
    In view of the fact that the solution to the problem of people eating too much meat is such arrant nonsense, I now have my doubts as to the validity of the rest of the report.

  • Ronnie Wright

    It does not surprise me to learn that Greenpeace would help fund and promote a report that suggested killing Australia’s Kangaroos.

    Let’s take a look at some other issues involving Greenpeace. According to a Sea Shepherd News Release, Dated February 16, 2007 titled “Greenpeace Eats Whales to Save Them”,

    — Start Quote —

    In promoting their theme that Japanese whale eating culture must be respected, a video distributed by Greenpeace depicts a Greenpeacer visiting a Japanese grandmother in her home. He sits down and eats whale with her, and politely tells her that is was delicious.


    This is not the first time that Greenpeace has betrayed the whales. In 1997, they assisted in a Yupik whale hunt by towing a dead bowhead whale ashore and ate whale meat as guests of the community.

    Greenpeace International Director John Frizell has openly stated that Greenpeace is not opposed to whaling in principle.

    When Sea Shepherd crew visited the Greenpeace ships Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise in Cape Town in February 2006, they could not help but notice that on the eve of a major campaign on overfishing along the African coast, the Greenpeace crew were sitting down to dinner before platters of baked fish.

    When one of the Sea Shepherd crew questioned the contradictions and said that Sea Shepherd ships served only vegan meals, the cook on the Esperanza said, “That’s just silly.”

    — End Quote —

    Greenpeace is not the group they were back in the day. If you want to find a group that is doing something to get individuals to take action to curb Global Greenhouse Gasses you should check out “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”.

    If your not a vegetarian your not an environmentalist.

  • Ronnie Wright


    If you review this report you will not find any references or other data, what so ever, to support the author’s suggestion of replacing beef with kangaroo. This leads me to believe that the author did research the issue prior to making such a suggestion. It only took me ten minutes of research to come up with this article published in ‘Australian Science’, August 1999, titled “Eating Wildlife: A Gourmet Recipe For Extinction”:

    ———– Start Quote ————

    We currently kill about 20% of our kangaroo population annually and get a mere 1500 tonnes of meat for human consumption. That’s about 1/2 a kg per animal. Even if we add in the additional meat sold as pet food, each kangaroo yields only 2 kg per animal. Even if we stop leaving kangaroos shot for the skin trade to rot in paddocks, we still have to realise that they are small animals. The biggest of our kangaroos, the male reds, have an average live weight of only 65 kg, with the females a mere 25 kg. Take out the bones, skin and the other inedibles, and there just isn’t much left. Grey kangaroos are even smaller at about 2/3 of this weight. In comparison, cattle yield a thousand times the meat – really. We get 1,700,000 tonnes of beef each year. To get this from kangaroos we would need, at present efficiency rates, to be 200 times the entire kangaroo population annually.

    ———– End Quote ————

    This was a stupid idea that could discredit the entire report and Greenpeace needs to correct it publicly.

  • Jason Foster

    Vegetarianism is a nice idea, but the fact is that the majority of people are not going to follow it, let alone become vegans, because they love the taste and texture of beef. The best we can hope for is that people will reduce their consumption with a variety of alternatives. So, under these circumstances, getting people to reduce their beef consumption by eating kangaroo, which is very similar, is not a stupid idea at all.

  • Sam Dowsett

    Have any of you city dwelling vegans actually tried to grow a grain or legume crop. A lot of these crops come from third world countries suffering from famine. Current soybean farming practice is one of the most destructive agricultural practices in the world & is the leading cause of amazon deforestation. Abandon all dogmas and realize most vegetation on earth is not suitable for human consumption. Animals can convert this to an edible form. Eat local organic and yes some meat is sustainable and environmentally responsible.

  • Marie H

    You may try to tell people to go vegetarian all you like, it’s not going to happen.

    I support vegetarianism, I have been vegetarian. A wide range of reasons influenced my decision to stop reducing my meat consumption (health, environment and animal cruelty issues).

    The majority of people still look at vegetarianism as “weird” or “radical”. The most respected or accepted explanation of why a person decides to be a vegetarian is health (self-interest is easily understood, more acceptable, unfortunately).

    I grew up on a farm, out in the bush and I see no problem with farming kangaroos instead of cows and sheep. Kangaroos are more enviromentaly friendly to the Australian environment. You need to be realistic, there will always be people who eat meat.

  • Alan Chisholm

    This is a fabulous way to lower our greenhouse emissions, and also involves a practice that is in no way detrimental to anyone. The kangaroos that are shot are mostly in rural Australia and are a pest to farming communities. By rejecting to eat kangaroo we are being inhumane to ourselves, for the meat is a source of wondrous nutrients and proteins that can only do our bodies good. We are eating several species with abundant numbers, while protecting the earth at the same time.

  • Humane Sorrows

    Perhaps people who purport to be ‘environmentalists’ (by eating kangaroo) could dare to think about their (shallow) tastebuds, which rule their thinking. Not only are people conditioned to eat meat seven days a week, but people actually believe that vegetarians are crazy, hippies! Sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it any longer. Vegetarianism is delicious, very healthy, and widely embraced by billions of people worldwide; and in this country, we DO have the choice – we are not yet, third world, but could be in just one generation of selfish actions – keep on breeding cows, and the worlds driest continent will be even more so…. If people wish to eat kangaroo, then educate yourself in a few ways: go on a hunt to see how (in)humane kangaroo shooters are… You might gain some awareness about how your mass meat is produced; especially perhaps, you might develop a different conscience – for once you see a joey being bashed to death after the mother is shot dead(or left to die in agony after being hit in the dark – when most are killed; how I ask, can the industry be ‘monitored’ in darkness???), then you may feel some pain in your dietary selfishness inflicted on an animal that is also, a mammal (like our species). Or perhaps those high and mighty meat eaters who only have the courage to go to a butcher to get their red ‘prettied-up’ meat, without having any consciousness that this was once a breathing, living, beautiful native animal; perhaps you just might realise that eating meat of any kind, has severe environment and ethical consequences… the native animal kingdoms worldwide, are diminishing. Thats going, going… gone. In Australia, we have demolished kangaroos from 200 million, to 20 million in 200 years. Now, we kill the healthy ones, and cull those left to suffer the drought, deeming the natives ‘pests’ because there is no where else for them to find their food sources, or hide – we’ve demolished their natural habitats – caused in large by bulldozing native grasslands, and bush in favour for cows bred for….. drum roll…. meat eaters! DUH? Is there a screwloose or something missing from this scenario here????????????????? Our planet is in deep trouble. Meat eaters: you are a huge part of the problem. Kangaroo will not solve this problem. Just destroy another beautiful animal, for the tastebuds. There are simply to many human species with

    too many meat loving tastebuds.

  • Mike, BEng

    Alot of these arguments seem very emotively driven. Let’s not forget that the aborigines consumed native wildlife such as kangaroos before the Europeans arrived, and due to the population, life on this continent was sustainable. Since industrial times, mankind has brought about an unsustainable model of living, a dependence and increasing hunger for unstainability, with bullish ignorance of the equilibrium of the natural world. This is compounded by severe overpopulation, both in Australia and globally. Even as arguments hot up along with the atmosphere, man still carries on, oblivious to the obvious. Maybe we feel helpless as individuals.

    We can have arguments about the right and wrong of kangaroo meat, but we really need to just down our tools, band together and bring about revolutionary change – the 4 year termers won’t. The atmosphere has increased by 2°C in recent times, we have only 1°C to go before irreversible, accelerated breakdown occurs.

    BTW, why has no one protested against the recent approval of Victoria’s newest coal fired powerstation? Where’s the new solar tube…?Sorry carbon offsets don’t really do it for me.

    Why is everyone so consumed by cost? Cost is irrelevant when economies collapse, which will be sooner rather than later.

    The earth will extinguish our destructive ways (and possibly us) before we extinguish the earth. On the one hand these catastrophic events will be horrible to experience, the upside being this should be a lesson learnt for the misbehaving children of the earth.

  • Tilly

    Iam 16 and go to Karingal Park Secondary College, and am researching this as a project…

    i think it is disgusting that people are actually thinking of eating our national animals!!!
    tourists come to australia and want to see the koalas and kangaroos and all those things and here we are bloody eating them!
    it is outrageous!
    if other countries wanna give us there animals like cows then let them, thats there choice, but as an australian and as someone with free will, i will not ever support the eating of kangaroos.

    You think im crazy or i dont no what im talking about because im in high school fine, but you all should be listening to my generation because we are the ones that are screwed at the moment…from all your mistakes!!!
    Atleast now when kangaroos are extinct it wont be my fault! it will be all you people that eat and cull them!

    Thanx for ruining my future!!!

  • tara

    I agree with you..its horrible! I mean why anybody do something like that..
    eating a kangaroo. Maybe we can al become vegetarian, thats a nice idea.
    But the fact is that people are not going to follow it, because they love the taste ofbeef. All we can hope is that people will reduce their consumption with a variety of alternatives.

  • Shelley

    What a shame that Greenpeace have tarnished an otherwise reasonable and credible reputation over this report and its ‘findings’. For Diesendorf, it is also a shame that he did not bother to conduct any proper research into this matter or consult experts who have worked in this area for decades.

    Kangaroos cannot be farmed or coralled as they are highly stressed (it has been tried and has failed). At present we are killing some 10-20% of the population each year for the commercial slaughter, and government figures indicate that populations in some areas have declined by up to 70% since 2002 due to drought and the commercial industry. Kangaroos are lean animals, who yield very little meat when compared with cattle – it would be necessary to kill the entire kangaroo population many times over in one year if we were to substitute kangaroo for beef.

    This is a ridiculously unsustainable idea – Is it worth losing our kangaroo species over? Why not suggest a vegetarian diet? If that’s too ‘radical’ for Greenpeace, then why not suggest people REDUCE their consumption and go meatfree for one or two days a week?

    Shame Greenpeace shame!