Throwing the “sink” at livestock emissions accounting


James Nason, BEEF Central (AU)



Measuring the health of your bank account by looking only at what you’re earning, but not what you’re spending, obviously wouldn’t be a recipe for long-term success.


In a similar way, using a greenhouse gas accounting system that measures emissions from livestock, but not what is being removed from the atmopshere by the same biogenic system, isn’t going to produce a realistic or useful outcome.


In an address to the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association virtual SmartBeef conference today, US air quality specialist Dr Frank Mitloehner explained why global greenhouse gas measurement systems must more accurately account for “sinks” along with emissions.


The cattle sector’s warming impact is not zero, he said, but it is a fraction of that compared to fossil fuels.


The chart below highlights the different sources of greenhouse gas emission in the United States.


The reddish/orange colour denotes fossil fuel emissions.


At the bottom, coloured yellow, are direct emissions from the beef industry.


Emissions from cattle are far from the “insurmountable problem” opponents of animal agriculture and meat consumption often portray them as.


Flawed accounting systems ...


GWP Star method provides clearer picture ...


Feed additives can help – but beward “unintended consequences” ...


more, including chart, infographic, UC Davis report