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Can livestock farming reduce its emissions?

3 episodes
  • 1
    How to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming?
  • 2
    Climate: “Reducing emissions means reducing our consumption of animal products”
  • 3
    Methanisation: “good for the environment and energy autonomy”
Épisode 1/3
Anaïs Marechal, science journalist
On April 6th, 2022
4 min reading time
cecile_martin
Cécile Martin
Research Director in Animal Science at Inrae    

Key takeaways

  • According to the FAO, in 2010 livestock farming was responsible for the emission of 8.1 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2 equivalent, mainly due to cattle farming (62% of the sector's emissions).
  • This sector has ways that it could use to reduce its footprint: enteric fermentation (44% of global livestock emissions), animal feed (41%) and manure management (10%).
  • Emissions are linked to our consumption. The larger the animal, the more feed it consumes and the more methane it produces. A cow emits about 600 L of CH4 per day, compared to 60 L for a sheep.
  • A feed additive known to be anti-methanogenic could help reduce 3-NOP. Studies show that it has the potential to reduce CH4 production by 20-40%.
Épisode 2/3
Anaïs Marechal, science journalist
On April 6th, 2022
4 min reading time
Sylvain_Pellerin
Sylvain Pellerin
Research Director at Inrae

Key takeaways

  • In 2010, the production of meat and dairy products contributed to the emission of 9.8 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2 equivalent, or 20% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all sectors combined.
  • Land-use changes, such as deforestation in the Amazon to plant soybeans, account for more than a third of GHG emissions from animal feed.
  • Current crop production systems are highly specialised. One of the levers that could help reduce GHG emissions would be more diversified agriculture.
  • The worst thing would be to reduce livestock farming in France while continuing to eat as much meat as we import.
Épisode 3/3
Anaïs Marechal, science journalist
On April 6th, 2022
4 min reading time
Julien_Thual
Julien Thual
Engineer coordinating methanisation at ADEME

Key takeaways

  • Livestock effluent (wastewater) is responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock farming. These emissions are linked to their storage and treatment method.
  • As of 1 January 2022, there were 1175 methanisation units in France, of which 805 were using agricultural effluents in 2021.
  • Methanisation has continues to develop over recent years, with a strong dynamic that has notably allowed the addition of 1.5 TWh installed capacity per year.It is essential to regulate this use in order to avoid competition with food.
  • In France, this share is limited by law to 15% of cultivated areas and is currently between 3 and 6%.

Contributors

Anaïs Marechal

Anaïs Marechal

science journalist

Anaïs Marechal has a PhD in Geoscience. She first became interested in earthquakes, which she studied in research laboratories and in the field for several years. In 2017, she decided to train in science journalism at ESJ Lille. Since then, she has been working as a freelance journalist for various general, specialised and professional print media where she covers climate, health and new technologies.