Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation

Tackling Climate
Change through
A global assessment of emissions
and mitigation opportunities


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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2013


As renewed international efforts are needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the livestock sector can contribute its part. An important emitter of greenhouse gas, it also has the potential to significantly reduce its emissions. This report provides a unique global assessment of the magnitude, the sources and pathways of emissions from different livestock production systems and supply chains. Relying on life cycle assessment, statistical analysis and scenario building, it also provides estimates of the sector’s mitigation potential and identifies concrete options to reduce emissions. The report is a useful resource for stakeholders from livestock producers to policy-makers, researchers and civil society representatives, which also intends to inform the public debate on the role of livestock supply chains in climate change and possible solutions.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and acronyms

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1. Introduction

2. Methods
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2.1 Introduction
2.2 Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM)
2.3 Modelling carbon sequestration potential in grasslands

3. The aggregate picture

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3.1 Overall emissions
3.2 Emissions by species and commodities
3.3 Main sources of emissions
3.4 Emissions by regions

4. Emissions by species

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4.1 Cattle
4.2 Buffalo
4.3 Small ruminants (sheep and goats)
4.4 Pig
4.5 Chicken
4.6 Cross-cutting observations

5. Scope for mitigation

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5.1 Mitigation potential
5.2 Carbon sequestration
5.3 Potential by main geographical areas

6. Mitigation in practice: case studies

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6.1 Dairy cattle production in South Asia
6.2 Intensive pig production in East and Southeast Asia
6.3 Specialized beef production in South America
6.4 Small ruminant production in West Africa
6.5 Dairy production in OECD countries
6.6 Potential for productivity gains

7. Implications for policy-making

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7.1 A brief description of mitigation policy approaches
7.2 Targeting of mitigation policies
7.3 Main mitigation strategies and their policy requirements
7.4 Existing policy frameworks for mitigation through livestock
7.5 Conclusions

Supplementary information on methods


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ISBN 978-92-5-107920-1 (print)
E-ISBN 978-92-5-107921-8 (PDF)

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