The new 2013 FAO Report from Rome states: "Livestock matters to climate change. The sector contributes 7.1 gigatonnes (giga=billion) CO2-eq (equivalent) to global anthropogenic GHG emissions – a contribution that can be readily reduced by up to one-third – placing the sector as an integral part of any solution to climate change.
Once again, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has weighed-in against agriculture and livestock. The 115-page FAO report titled "Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock" was released Sept. 26.
The report was written by several people, including Dr. Pierre Gerber, a PhD. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
Gerber has on occasion been harshly criticized by University of California professor Dr. Frank Mitloehner, who has stated Gerber's prior work is, "Simply not scientifically accurate to blame livestock for climate change."
Gerber told the BBC in an interview and was quoted as saying he "accepted the criticism."
Notwithstanding these facts, Gerber and his team now say, "The global livestock sector contributes a significant share to anthropogenic GHG emissions, but it can also deliver a significant share of the necessary mitigation effort."
FAO claims livestock emissions represent 14.5 percent of human-induced global warming emissions. In an earlier publication, Gerber claimed livestock contributed 18 percent of human-induced emissions.
In Chapter 1, FAO declares that the livestock sector is a large user of natural resources and it needs to address its environmental footprint.
The report is based on a newly developed Global Livestock Environment Assessment Model (GLEAM). This model claims to take into account geographical patterns of soil in the world and the major livestock species grown in the world such as buffalo, cattle, goats, pigs and poultry.
The model measures three GHGs emitted from food and agricultural activities: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Page six of the report notes that GLEAM is built on five modules: the herd module, feed module, manure module, system module and allocation module.
The model allegedly considers all sources of emissions along the livestock supply chain. Of the 7.1 billion tons of CO2-eq per year emitted by worldwide livestock, the report claims that 4.6 billion tons of GHGs (65 percent) come from cattle and dairy; beef is slightly more than dairy by comparison. Global emissions from hogs are estimated at 668 million tons and poultry at 612 million tons.
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