Live­stock caus­ing more of a stink than we knew

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS -

EMIS­SIONS of the green­house gas meth­ane from live­stock are larger than pre­vi­ously thought, pos­ing an ad­di­tional chal­lenge in the fight to curb global warm­ing, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day.

Re­vised cal­cu­la­tions of meth­ane pro­duced per head of cat­tle show that global live­stock emis­sions in 2011 were 11 per cent higher than es­ti­mates, based on data from the UN’s In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel for Cli­mate Change.

Pe­ri­odic re­ports by the IPCC, draw­ing from thou­sands of sci­en­tists, help lead­ers take ac­tion on cli­mate change, which has be­gun to wreak weather havoc around the globe.

“In many re­gions, live­stock num­bers are chang­ing, and breed­ing has re­sulted in larger an­i­mals with higher in­takes of food,” said Julie Wolf, a re­searcher in the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and lead au­thor of a study in the jour­nal Car­bon Balance and Man­age­ment. “This, along with changes in live­stock man­age­ment, can lead to higher meth­ane emis­sions.”

Ear­lier es­ti­mates, she said, were based on “out-of-date data”. After ris­ing slowly from 2000 to 2006, the con­cen­tra­tion of meth­ane in the air has climbed 10 times more quickly in the past decade, ac­cord­ing to ear­lier re­search.

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