Hopping Over Climate Change

What would you do to stop climate change? Would you switch to an all-kangaroo diet?

Kangaroos, you see, are “nonruminant forestomach fermenters that produce negligible amounts of methane.” That’s from a new paper that finds that if Australia switched from raising sheep and cattle to kangaroos, it would cut a quarter of its livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s the somewhat surrealistic nut graph:

Removing seven million cattle and 36 million sheep by 2020 and replacing them with 175 million kangaroos, to produce the same amount of meat, could lower national greenhouse gases by 3 percent a year, said the University of New South Wales study.

Or if the kangaroos got voting rights, they could take over the country: smart ethnic politics.

To be fair, the scientific logic here is interesting: Because methane’s both far more potent than carbon dioxide and has a lifetime that’s much briefer, cutting methane emissions is a clever short-term strategy. Of course, there’s the small problem that Australians apparently are vaguely disgusted by the thought of eating kangaroo. As the study dryly notes, “One of the impediments to change is protective legislation and the status of kangaroos as a national icon.”

Right. That.

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