Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Limiting the climate impact of livestock

A recent research project is conducting experiments, statistical analyses and mathematical modelling to address the problem of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock farming.

Climate change threatens both food security and rural livelihoods as changing rainfall patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather events and new disease outbreaks abound. However, the global animal food chain and associated land-use change are contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. Current policies aimed at curbing these may well be insufficient and ineffective.

The EU-funded ANIMALCHANGE project was set up to improve emissions estimates and emissions reduction methods in livestock systems. The project will extend beyond Europe's borders, applicable to a wide range of systems and various end users across Africa and Latin America.

To this end, project members worked on a suite of scenarios, models, assessments and policy support tools. Activity data on livestock production systems were collected in Africa and Latin America; EU data were already available.

Modelling and scenario planning work was conducted at the farm and regional scales. Researchers updated and improved upon many models of livestock emissions and adaptation-mitigation strategies relating to livestock.

Researchers tested the models and findings of ANIMALCHANGE at 24 case study farms around Europe, as well as in Kenya and several South American countries. All of the findings were collated into several reports that can inform policy decisions in the area of adaptation and mitigation.

ANIMALCHANGE will help European livestock production adapt to challenges posed by climate change. As such, the project will also support the mitigation of emissions from European livestock systems. A key project impact will be a better informed public, and support for science-based perception of the role of livestock systems in climate change.

last modification: 2015-06-23 14:47:42

Study in Poland