Reducing Emissions from Livestock

Decarbonization Avenue : Reducing Emissions from Livestock


Just like humans, livestock also exhale CO2 during respiration, but this is a net zero emission. Livestock also emit significant amounts of methane arising from enteric fermentation within their bodies and release in their burps/belches, and to a smaller extent, flatulence (fart). As methane is a far more potential GHG than CO2, these emissions assume significance.

Livestock emissions represent about 7 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year, about 14% of total GHG emissions. Cattle raised for both beef and milk alone are responsible for most of these emissions, and represent about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions.

There have been many efforts to reduce emissions from livestock. On one hand, concepts such as plant based meat and cell-based meat are trying to eliminate large scale breeding of livestock for food, On the other, innovations in livestock feed - use of seaweed as a feed ingredient, for instance - have proven successful in reducing the total amount of emissions from livestock, though these are yet to be adopted on a large scale by the livestock industry worldwide.

A key challenge in scaling many of the decarbonization solutions for livestock is that a large portion of livestock and animal husbandry sector comprises small family holdings, making it difficult to scale many of the innovations due to challenges in access and implementing new solutions in a relatively unorganized sector.

For the 2020-2030 period, key innovations in this domain will be around feed & feed additives and use of digital monitoring tools for intelligence and control.

Industries impacted

  • Agriculture & farming
  • Food & beverages
  • Life sciences
  • Livestock
  • Waste management

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Themes & Topics

  • Sources of emissions

    • Cattle

    • Sheep & goat

    • Poultry

    • Pigs

  • Solutions

    • Better feed

    • Use of digital technologies

    • Organic livestock husbandry

    • Sustainable management of livestock waste

    • Monitoring & analytics for sustainable livestock

  • Livestock farms by size:

    • Smallholder livestock farming

    • Large livestock farms

  • Education/capacity dev.

  • Collaboration

  • Use of IT & digital tools

  • Geographical case studies

    • North America

    • South America

    • Asia

    • Middle East & Africa

    • Europe

    • Oceania