November 10, 2017   •   News

New research: livestock’s contribution to global warming greater than previous estimates

New research by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC)’s Dr Andy Reisinger and Dr Harry Clark shows that the livestock contribution to global warming is significantly greater than previous estimates.

Previous estimates were based on CO2-equivalent emissions, but Dr Reisinger explains that methane plays a critical role in global warming: “We found that of the warming the world had experienced by 2010, as much as 19 percent was due to direct historical methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock. Once you add the warming due to emissions when land is converted into pastures, you end up with a total contribution of 23 percent to current warming… [not including] indirect emissions from energy use or growing livestock feed such as soy beans…”

Dr Reisinger says the study also addresses how much livestock will contribute to future warming under different scenarios and how reductions in livestock emissions would impact on allowable CO2 emissions as set out in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Read the media release here

Read the full article here, published in Global Change Biology

For further questions, please contact Dr Andy Reisinger, andy.reisinger@nzagrc.org.nz