Comparing Carbon and Water Footprints for Beef Cattle Production in Southern Australia
Stand-alone environmental indicators based on life cycle assessment (LCA), such as the carbon footprint and water footprint, are becoming increasingly popular as a means of directing sustainable production and consumption. However, individually, these metrics violate the principle of LCA known as comprehensiveness and do not necessarily provide an indication of overall environmental impact. In this study, the carbon footprints for six diverse beef cattle production systems in southern Australia were calculated and found to range from 10.1 to 12.7 kg CO 2 e kg âˆ’1 live weight (cradle to farm gate). This compared to water footprints, which ranged from 3.3 to 221 L H 2 Oe kg âˆ’1 live weight. For these systems, the life cycle impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use were subsequently modelled using endpoint indicators and aggregated to enable comparison. In all cases, impacts from GHG emissions were most important, representing 93 to 99% of the combined scores. As such, the industryâ€™s existing priority of GHG emissions reduction is affirmed. In an attempt to balance the demands of comprehensiveness and simplicity, to achieve reliable public reporting of the environmental impacts of a large number of products across the economy, a multi-indicator approach based on combined midpoint and endpoint life cycle impact assessment modelling is proposed. For agri-food products, impacts from land use should also be included as tradeoffs between GHG emissions, water use and land use are common.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Page, Girija & Ridoutt, Brad & Bellotti, Bill, 2011. "Fresh tomato production for the Sydney market: An evaluation of options to reduce freshwater scarcity from agricultural water use," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 18-24.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:12:p:2443-2455:d:15200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.