Understanding livestock’s role in climate

Farm animals don’t play near the role in emitting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as some suggest.

In fact, the livestock industry has become much more efficient and looks to be part of future climate solutions, according to Frank Mitloehner, professor of animal science and air quality Extension specialist at the University of California-Davis.

Globally, the majority of GHG emissions are driven by the energy and transportation sectors. Livestock contribute about 5.8% of emissions worldwide. But in the US, efficiencies in livestock production help farmers reduce GHG to just 4% of all emissions nationwide.

And the efforts toward reducing climate impacts continue to make great strides in the livestock sector.

The use of anaerobic digesters to convert methane to biogas has already led to a 25% reduction in California dairy emissions, Mitloehner reported. Feed additives could also help reduce methane emissions, all helping the dairy industry to potentially become climate neutral within a decade or so, the air quality specialist said.

He notes methane gas released from animals has a half-life of about 12 years, compared to 1 000 years for carbon dioxide and 110 years for nitrous oxide.

“Methane is a flow gas. It’s destroyed at the same rate as emissions (by natural processes),” Mitloehner said. Carbon dioxide is a stock gas. It accumulates over time. It’s important to understand this as climate solutions are considered.

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/air-quality-specialist-important-understand-152942476.html