Knowledge for better food systems

Briefing paper: Livestock solutions for climate change

The FAO has just published a briefing paper which proposes three ways to substantially reduce emissions from livestock production.

The main areas it covers are:

  • Productivity improvements that reduce emission intensities
  • Carbon sequestration through improved pasture management
  • Better livestock integration in the circular bioeconomy (i.e. increasing the share of by-products or waste that humans cannot eat in the livestock feed ration or by recycling and recovering nutrients and energy from animal waste)

Note that the briefing also makes the point (somewhat unusually for the FAO) that “Emissions could also be reduced by targeting the demand for meat and other livestock products where consumption is too high".

The briefing paper can be read here. See also the Foodsource chapter Focus: the difficult livestock issue.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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