Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Global Livestock Sector Generates More GHG Emissions than Transport

According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent—18%—than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

Livestock now use 30% of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33% of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20% of all terrestrial animal biomass.

Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40% to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.
That is amazing to me that livestock use 30% of the Earth's surface and meat and dairy animals account for 20% of all terrestrial animal biomass.

I had written before on Cars vs. Cows and based on the numbers I found thought that cows had the bigger impact. Glad to see that this study agrees with that conclusion.

via Green Car Congress

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