Adoption of existing strategies for livestock methane reduction can help achieve 2030 targets
A key meta-analysis conducted by Claudia Arndt and a team of experts from renowned institutes worldwide has revealed encouraging news amidst the concerning climate change reports. The study, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), explored strategies to mitigate livestock methane emissions and found that existing approaches could sufficiently limit the sector’s contribution to global warming, aligning with the 1.5°C target by 2030.
The identified strategies, focusing on reducing enteric methane production without compromising animal productivity, include increasing feed intake, grazing on less mature grass, feeding higher levels of concentrate, and supplementing animals with methane inhibitors, oils and fats, oilseeds, or nitrate.
While these strategies can meet short-term targets, scientists caution that additional measures will be necessary to stay on track beyond 2050 due to projected increases in livestock product demand. The research highlights the critical role of ruminants in providing animal protein, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where livestock plays a crucial role in food security and other benefits such as fuel and fertilizer production. However, given the growing human population and per capita demand for animal products in Africa, the identified strategies alone would not be sufficient to meet the 2030 or 2050 targets in the region. Therefore, other means of decreasing methane emissions from the supply and demand side of the livestock sector are crucial.
The study underscores the importance of concerted action to identify and remove barriers to the full adoption of effective mitigation strategies.
The research was conducted by the Feed and Nutrition Network of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and received funding through the GLOBAL NETWORK project, a multinational initiative supported by the Joint Programming Initiative on Food Security, Agriculture, and Climate Change.
Key takeaways from the report:
- Existing strategies can mitigate livestock methane emissions to help the sector meet the 1.5°C global warming target by 2030.
- Effective strategies include increasing feed intake, grazing on less mature grass, feeding higher levels of concentrate, and supplementing animals with methane inhibitors, oils and fats, oilseeds, or nitrate.
- Full adoption of these strategies is needed by 2030 to achieve the short-term target, but additional measures will be necessary by 2050 due to increased livestock product demand.
- Africa’s growing population and per capita demand for animal products pose challenges in fully meeting the targets, requiring other means of decreasing methane emissions in the livestock sector.
Read the press release on this topic: Full adoption of existing mitigation strategies can help meet livestock methane reduction targets by 2030
Read the opinion piece by the authors of the paper in The Conversation: Less burping, more meat and milk – how livestock farmers can help tackle the climate crisis
Photo: A herder at East Africa’s biggest livestock market in Garissa, Kenya. ILRI/Kabir Dhanji.