The current issue of New Scientist features an interesting article which draws on research underway in New Zealand and highlights the challenges the world faces in its atempts to combat climate change:
“Rising populations and incomes are expected to double the global demand for meat and milk from 229 to 465 million tonnes and 580 to 1043 million tonnes, respectively, by 2050. This will almost double the amount of greenhouse gases produced by livestock, dwarfing attempts to cut emissions elsewhere. Apart from all of us turning to a vegetarian diet, can anything be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock?” Asks New Scientist.
The issue is particularly relevant to New Zealand where, New Scientist points out, 48 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions derive from our 34.2 million sheep, 9.7 million cattle, 1.4 million deer and 155,000 goats who emit methane and nitrous oxide.
The article goes on to outline the work of the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, which is researching methods of reducing the methane and nitrous oxide output of our farm animals.