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Reducing Enteric Methane for improving food security and livelihoods
Relationship between emission intensity and milk productivity (size of bubble indicates amount of energy channeled for maintenance purposes)

Reducing emission intensity

The emissions intensity of enteric methane (kg of enteric methane per unit of product) and the potential to mitigate enteric methane, varies greatly across regions and also between and within production systems. The wide gap in emissions intensity for ruminant products is due to different agro-ecological conditions, farming practices and supply chain management. It is within this variability – or gap between producers with the highest emission intensity and those with lowest emission intensity – that many mitigation options can be found, that with the right incentives can be exploited to close the gap (see “Tackling climate change through livestock”, FAO 2013).

The major technical mitigation potential is found in areas where both measures of emission intensity per unit of product and per unit of land are high. That is mainly in Latin America, South Asia, and in parts of Sub Saharan Africa. Here, a large potential for emission reduction per unit of protein coincides with substantial volumes of production.

This strong correlation between animal productivity increases and enteric methane emission reduction implies there are large opportunities for low-cost mitigation and widespread social and economic benefits (see Figure). Relative to other global greenhouse gas abatement opportunities, reducing enteric methane through productivity gains is the lowest cost options and has a direct economic benefit to farmers.