A comprehensive assessment of the impact of reducing livestock emissions

In order to meet the COP21 Paris target we may need to consider either removing CO2 from the atmosphere or focus more attention on Short Lived Climate Pollutants. As methane only lasts in the atmosphere for around 12 years, but has a relatively high global warming potential during this period, there are increasing calls for reduced consumption of livestock products. However, having a choice in your diet is limited to around 10 to 14% of the affluent few in the world. However, at the same time we have a rising world middle class estimated to be 4.9B by 2030, with a clear trends towards more animal-based protein in their diet. Livestock in the developing world are more than just a source of food, being a essential source of power for planting crops, integral in religious observance and a symbol of wealth. This study will compare the theoretical against the likely the true potential of reduced livestock consumption to address global warming, including the competing factors, alternative uses of livestock in society and recommending the future place of livestock in a warming and more populated world.

Richard is Professor and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre (www.piccc.org.au), a joint research initiative between the University of Melbourne and Agriculture Victoria. He is a science advisor to the Australian, New Zealand and UK governments, and the UN FAO and European Union, on climate change adaptation, mitigation and policy development in agriculture.