Livestock and Climate Change - Tara Garnett, Food Climate Research Network, University of Surrey


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During a workshop at the London International Development Centre on 12 June 2009, Tara Garnett gave an overview of livestock and contributions to climate-changing emissions.

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  • What about methane emissions much heavier, but much quicker to reduce, if we did not keep increasing! what about reduction from photosynthesis that has been foregone. What about respiration of livestock. what about flourocarbons for the refridgeration that was historically developed with and for the livestock industry. what about disposal of toxic waste into the waterways, landfills and incinerated.what about cooking where much higher heating and longer periods are needed. what about production distribution and disposal of the multitude of by-products like leather, fur,feathers and skin; and that used in foods like rennets etc etc and for pet foods. What about the carbo intensive medical treatments needed to treat diseases directly linked to meat consumption incloding zoonotic ones such as swine and bird flu's????????????????? What about the cruelty and terror we cause bringing a callous mentality to wars?
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  • Environmental impact of products (EIPRO): Analysis of the life cycle environmental impacts related to the total final consumption of the EU25 , European Science and Technology Observatory and Institute for Prospective Technological studies, full report, May 2006.
  • For further reading suggestions see resources pages of the FCRN
  • Livestock and Climate Change - Tara Garnett, Food Climate Research Network, University of Surrey

    1. 1. Livestock & Climate Change Food Climate Research Network FCRN-LIDC workshop - 12 June 2009
    2. 2. This presentation <ul><li>Food and its overall impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on meat and dairy </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing livestock GHGs: some options </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>
    3. 3. 1. Overall food related GHG emissions
    4. 4. The LCA perspective Land use change
    5. 5. Overall food-related contribution to GHG emissions <ul><li>EU EIPRO report: 31% all EU GHG emissions </li></ul><ul><li>UK FCRN & Govt estimates: both around 19% - </li></ul><ul><li>World agriculture contribution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13-14% global emissions (direct) (IPCC 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plus 6-17% agriculturally induced land use change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Land use change = soil carbon releases </li></ul>
    6. 6. UKL Food GHG impacts – around 19% As % of UK consumption related GHG emissions est. at 234 MTCe – source Druckman et al 2008
    7. 7. Former forest, Matto Grosso Brazil
    8. 8. 2. Focus on meat and dairy
    9. 9. Livestock and its impacts: some estimates <ul><li>FAO 2006: 18% global GHG emissions </li></ul><ul><li>EU EIPRO: 15% EU emissions (50% food’s impacts) </li></ul><ul><li>FCRN: about 8.5% of UK total </li></ul><ul><li>Kramer et al. : 50% food’s impacts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Variation depends on what’s included (eg. LU change ) & baseline consumption GHGs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the emisssions arise affects nature of solutions – more later </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But there are benefits too </li></ul>
    10. 10. Livestock: benefits & disbenefits ruminants Limited by legislation Benefits Disbenefits Comment Nutrition Excellent for protein, calcium, iron, vit B12 Excessive fat; protein can be more than needed Animal foods not essential; plants can substitute Non food benefits Leather, wool, manure, rendered products Manure can be a pollutant Quantities needed? Substitution cost Eating will always produce an impact Generally plant foods have lower GHG profile Carbon storage Pasture land stores carbon Excessive grazing & land use change releases carbon Land use change from pasture to crops will generate CO 2 Resource efficiency Livestock can consume grass & byproducts Supplemented with grains & cereals in intensive systems Byproducts can be used directly as energy source in AD systems Geography Some land not suitable for cropping Arable land used for livestock Intensified systems are arable hungry
    11. 11. However.... global trends in demand... Source: FAO 2006 ...are unsustainable 2000 (6 bn people) 2050 (9 bn people) Total demand – meat (tonnes) 228 459 Total demand – milk (tonnes) 475 883
    12. 12. Inequality continues: p.c. meat to 2050 Source: FAO 2006
    13. 13. Per cap. milk to 2050
    14. 14. 3. Reducing livestock emissions Technological options Behaviour change
    15. 15. Food’s impacts and the importance of the different gases Livestock approx 80% agricultural stage impacts Livestock’s role here? Relationship? Methane from livestock Nitrous oxide from livestock and crops Carbon dioxide from fossil energy use * Carbon dioxide from fossil energy use Beyond farm gate Up to farm gate Carbon dioxide from lost carbon sequest- ration * Note: fossil energy inputs are not huge in themselves but enable scale of production which , for example, turns livestock and its other emissions into a problem
    16. 16. What can we do to reduce livestock emissions? The technological options <ul><li>Productivity – same yield, fewer numbers (feed, breed, fertility, lifespan) </li></ul><ul><li>Manage soil carbon (pasture; min and no till) </li></ul><ul><li>Manage manure (anaerobic digestion; composting etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Energy efficiency : on farm energy use </li></ul><ul><li>BUT: Predicated on feeding cereals and proteins – esp soy biodiversity and land use change implications </li></ul>
    17. 17. What about switching to pork and poultry? <ul><ul><li>According to LCA, pigs and poultry convert feed to meat more efficiently and have a lower footprint BUT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pigs and poultry are ‘landless’ and heavily grain / soy dependent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ruminants can help sequester carbon (grazing) </li></ul><ul><li>Ruminants consume rough byproducts – resource efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Pigs can be part of the solution too – but ban on pig swill - needs to be reconsidered </li></ul><ul><li>Pigs and poultry aren’t ‘better’ than ruminants – different pros and cons </li></ul>
    18. 18. What level of GHG reductions for livestock are technically possible? <ul><li>UK/internl estimates of between 13-30% by 2020 have been given (eg. SAC/CCC; milk road map; Cooking up a Storm ; Bellarby et al) </li></ul><ul><li>But... </li></ul>
    19. 19. Even if tech improvements could cut global livestock impacts by 50% by 2050 <ul><li>(and this is ambitious) </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in per kg emissions offset by growth in output – driven by demand </li></ul><ul><li>We wouldn’t have a reduction in GHG emissions – just no increase </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in consumption needed too (ie. technological improvements and behaviour change) </li></ul><ul><li>But by how much? </li></ul>
    20. 20. If yr 2000 consumption levels were maintained <ul><li>At 9 billion people this would mean: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meat: 25 kg year (500g/week) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dairy: 53 kg a year (a litre a week). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In other words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 sausages, 1 small chicken piece and small pork chop a week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And milk for cereal & tea OR 100 g cheese (3 sandwiches?) a week </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Livestock and UK CC targets <ul><li>CCC budgets: 42% cut by 2020 and 50% cut by 2050: </li></ul><ul><li>CCC modelling work says potential 13-30% CO 2 eq reduction by 2020 and technically 50% by 2050 (agriculture as a whole) </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming UK pop grows 8% by 2020 and 50% by 2050 (UN pop stats) </li></ul><ul><li>To achieve targets UK livestock consumption needs to be cut by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2020: 11-36% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2050: 48% </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. 4. Conclusions
    23. 23. <ul><li>Livestock impacts significant </li></ul><ul><li>While some livestock production beneficial from GHG and human perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not at current levels... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>...Or given current trends </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Trends show global impacts set to grow </li></ul><ul><li>There are signs that people are waking up to the issue </li></ul>
    24. 24. For example... <ul><li>NGOs: FOE, WWF, Green Alliance, CIWF, FEC - all working on the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Govt: DH action; one local authority; lots of Defra research </li></ul><ul><li>Industry: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SAI dairy carbon footprinting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK dairy industry ‘road map’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK meat sector – starting road map </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supermarket dairy benchmarking groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUT current industry focus is on efficiency rather than integrating environmental & social concerns </li></ul>
    25. 25. Internationally - the key priorities <ul><li>In the context of 9 billion on planet by 2050 </li></ul><ul><li>What do we need to do so that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are all fed adequately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At minimum GHG cost? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stored carbon is not released? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biodiversity is protected? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other ethical non-negotiables upheld?? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Two approaches ... </li></ul>
    26. 26. Approach A : put demand centre stage – max efficiency <ul><li>Accept consumption trajectories as inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>Squeeze as much as you can from the land and the animals </li></ul><ul><li>Minimise the damage </li></ul><ul><li>Accept biodiversity losses / potential animal welfare losses and/or run dual systems for niche concerned groups </li></ul><ul><li>Or... </li></ul>
    27. 27. Approach B : Live within ecological constraints <ul><li>Make use of what animals are good at - an ‘ecological leftovers’ perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Confine livestock rearing to grazing on land unsuited to other purposes - storing carbon </li></ul><ul><li>Feed genuine byproducts - avoided feed production (overturn ban on pig swill) </li></ul><ul><li>Produce within these constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Consume within these constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Ie. meet needs rather than demand </li></ul>
    28. 28. Thank you Tara Garnett [email_address] Food Climate Research Network