Low-Carbon Technologies: Livestock and Manure Management to Reduce Methane Emissions

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It has been estimated that approximately 18% of global anthropogenic GHG emissions result, directly or indirectly, from the world’s livestock, though other sources estimate a lower number.  Ruminant livestock in particular produce approximately 80 million tonnes of CH4 annually, accounting for approximately 33% of anthropogenic CH4 emissions.  More efficient cattle production can reduce methane emissions by reducing the number of ineffective animals and reducing the age at slaughter.  Dietary manipulation may also help reduce methane emissions.  Furthermore, livestock waste may be useful in producing biofuels.  This may reduce the amount of methane released by livestock waste, as well as provide a renewable source of energy that is also less carbon-intensive than fossil fuels.  Another alternative is to reduce consumption of livestock, which in turn should reduce supply of livestock and therefore reduce methane emissions.