UN Report: Cows produce 39 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas

By on April 21, 2014

Beef shorthorn calf (Credit: Cgoodwin, via Wikimedia Commons)

A report from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that in 2011, 39 percent of agricultural greenhouse emissions originated from methane produced by livestock, NPR reported.

Between 2001 and 2011, methane emissions from livestock rose 11 percent. More than half of the emissions came from beef cattle, with dairy cows, buffalo, sheep and goats making up the rest.

The Food and Agriculture Organization suggested that meat consumption will likely increase over the next 30 years, contributing further to livestock methane production. Developing countries will account for much of this growth, where dietary protein is currently in short supply.

To mitigate methane production, farmers might switch their livestock’s diet from grass to grain, or incorporate alfalfa supplements, Francesco Tubiello of the Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Image: Beef shorthorn calf (Credit: Cgoodwin, via Wikimedia Commons)

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