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Cattle and global warming

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In this presentation I review some of the most important aspects about greenhouse gases emissions by cattle

Published in: Environment
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Cattle and global warming

  1. 1. Cattle and Global Warming How much are cows responsible for it? Luis A. Rodríguez
  2. 2. Outline • Understanding CH4 and NO2 production by cattle • Some figures about cattle GHG production • How to deal with that?
  3. 3. Cows are ruminants 3 pregastric cavities + 1 true stomach They cannot digest pasture by themselves Ruminal microbes transform fiber into energy and NPN to protein
  4. 4. Methane production in rumen
  5. 5. Ammonia production in rumen Excreted N is transformed by soil microbes in N2O
  6. 6. • N fertilizer (production and application) • Fossil oils • Deforestation • Soil tillage • Soil liming • Pasture desertification • Processing • Cattle transport • Feed cropping • Respiration CO2* Other sources of GHG
  7. 7. Gas PGW CO2 1 CH4 23 N2O 296 Tropospheric GHG concentrations 1750 2006 0 500 1000 1500 2000 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 280 318 277 382 600 1728 N2O CO2 CH4 CH4andN2O(ppb) CO2(ppm) Data from: FAO (2006). Livestock’s long shadow.
  8. 8. Different author, different numbers… Total GHG anthropogenic emissions: 33-40 billion tones CO2-eq per year
  9. 9. Why these differences exist? Sources inclusion Emission factors PGW for methane Assumptions
  10. 10. Our foods footprint 0.8 - 3 kg CO2-eq/kg milk 18 – 22 kg CO2-eq/kg meat
  11. 11. Reduce meat/milk compsumtion? Promove a cattle production ban? Pay more for low-emission products? What consumers can do?
  12. 12. What producers are doing? • Producing more efficient cattle • Growing more efficient grasses • Better use of fertilizer N • Improving diets • Using additives (like monensin and glycerol) • More trees in farms (forage and wood) • Natural alternatives (condensed tannins and essential oils)
  13. 13. But actually there’s a long road ahead of us Thank you very much Any question?

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