African cattle emissions lower than IPCC estimate

Scientists at the International Livestock Centre for Africa have found that the faecal methane emissions of cattle in East Africa are two times lower, faecal nitrous oxide (NO2) 10–20 times lower and urine NO2 two times lower than the estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The study is significant as nearly 65% of Africa’s population derives its livelihoods from farming, livestock and freshwater fisheries. According to IPCC estimates, though livestock emissions account for only 9% of global carbon dioxide (CO2), it generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide and 35% of methane, the global warming potential of which is 296 and 23 times that of CO2 respectively.

The findings are published in the Journal of Environmental Quality (Sept 2016) under the title “Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from cattle excreta on an East African grassland”. Easily accessible is a web article from the Down to Earth magazine entitled “Taking stock of Africa’s livestock emissions”.

Posted on 3 October 2016 in Pastoral Research & Innovation, Pastoralism & Climate Change