USA, Pennsylvania. The Global Network project team published their newest report on efficient strategies to reduce methane emissions and their potential to meet the Paris climate agreement targets for 2030 and 2050.
An international group of researchers, including scientists from Penn State University, published a meta-analysis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analysing numerous peer-reviewed studies for strategies designed to decrease enteric methane emissions while maintaining or increasing animal productivity.
Not reducing the quality and quantity of animal production is critical for the adoption of these practices by livestock producers, said Alexander Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition and co-author of the paper. Hristov initiated the project in 2015 as chair of the Feed and Nutrition Network of the 35-country Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
The researchers found that the world could meet the targets for 2030 set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement provided that the strategies detailed in the research be fully adopted and concerted action is taken to identify and remove adoption barriers and implement the strategies.
“This study shows that meeting the Paris targets is mostly within our grasp — certainly in the developed world — provided we can summon the political will to do so,” said lead researcher Claudia Arndt, senior scientist and co-leader of the Mazingira Centre, a laboratory equipped to measure agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, which is operated by the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya.
The research shows effective strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions and meet agricultural climate targets, Arndt added. Because a 100% adoption of these strategies is unlikely, other proposed means of decreasing methane production, such as strategies that remove emissions from the supply-and-demand side of the agricultural sector, are needed.
Because of ruminants’ multiple uses and their contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the researchers focused on strategies that reduce methane emission but simultaneously increase animal production per unit of input. The study identified three practices related to feed management that could reduce methane emission per unit of meat or milk by an average of 12% and five practices related to reducing daily methane emissions by 21% on average.
The strategies included reducing ruminants' grazing on mature grass and increasing feeding level. The analysis also considered strategies such as supplementation with methane inhibitors and so-called electron sinks as well as feeding oils and tanniferous (containing tannin) forages to reduce daily methane emissions while maintaining animal production.
Source: Penn State University