Australian canola for European biodiesel emits half the greenhouse gas of fossil fuels

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre chief economist Ross Kingwell said the market had been worth up to $1.7 billion in export revenue, but was averaging $1 billion for Australian exporters.

Australian non-gm canola can achieve a $20-$40 premium because excess can go seamlessly into the food or animal feed sector.

The Australian Oilseed Federation and the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre commissioned the CSIRO in 2015 to investigate and submit a report on behalf of the Australian canola industry.

Dr Eady said it took Europe 12 months from when it received the CSIRO and Lifecycle’s report on canola to approve and legislate it.

She said it had come close to being a disaster for Australian canola growers.

Australian trade officials worked hard to get European counterparts to understand the impact the cut-off for Australian canola under the new regulations would have on exports.

Greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil much higher

Professor Kingwell said Europe had found sources of biodiesel such as palm oil were creating more emissions at their origin, so although the Europeans were reducing their emissions, the production was using more.

The CSIRO found Australian canola generated on average 497 kilograms of greenhouse gases (GHG) for every tonne of canola harvested.

The life-cycle assessment was “cradle to farmgate” to build the database for industry to quickly respond to these questions.

The team built a tool to assess greenhouse gas emissions from canola cropping at a regional scale, even smaller than shires.

Dr Eady said the best performing state was South Australia, generating just 439kg GHG per tonne of canola seed harvested.

“That’s important because South Australia is one of the biggest exporting states to the EU,” she said.

“Next was Victoria with 476kg GHG per tonne of canola, NSW at 509kg GHG per tonne, and Western Australia at 511kg GHG greenhouse gas emissions.

“The greenhouse gas produced growing canola in Queensland and Tasmania are significantly higher, however neither state exports canola to the EU.”

Canada and Croatia are also significant suppliers into the EU, and they were not able to get their country report accepted by the EU because they had significant issues still to be addressed.

“Australia has not only got our country report accepted and legislated, we’ve done it ahead of our major global competitors, who are yet to satisfy the European Union with the thoroughness of their reports,” Dr Eady said.

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Australian canola for European biodiesel emits half the greenhouse gas of fossil fuels

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