EU Evaluates Livestock and GHG Emissions

EU - The EU Commission recently released its first interim report entitled “Evaluation of the livestock sector’s contribution to the EU greenhouse gas emissions”, which started in June 2008, writes Mark Zieg, from the Meat Division of the Irish food marketing body, Bord Bia.
calendar icon 29 June 2009
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This work has been carried out by the Joint Research Centre’s Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC).

The study assesses the importance of livestock production across the EU 27 and establishes a preliminary livestock production system typology and zoning and highlights the negative and positive impact on biodiversity. Furthermore in this phase preparatory work for quantifying emissions throughout the EU has taken place which will be the subject of the 2nd phase. The work so far concludes that it is hard to quantify the impact of livestock production on biodiversity but that it can and sometimes does play a role in its conservation.

Emissions levels of some of the major meat imports into the EU are also profiled. This includes assessment of the GHG impact of New Zealand Lamb, Brazilian Beef and Brazilian Chicken imported to the EU.

For New Zealand Lamb the GHG emissions are estimated at 33 Kg of CO2 equivalent / kg of meat landed in Europe. Enteric fermentation is the largest contributor at over 20 kg CO2 eq/kg, followed by manure in pasture at 7 kg CO2 eq/kg.

In the case of Brazilian beef the GHG emissions are calculated at 80 kg CO2 eq./ kg of meat landed in Europe. However the profile of contributors to this total differs significantly, while enteric fermentation accounts for 35 kg CO2 eq/kg, deforestation of rainforests to create agricultural land for raising cattle contributes a further 31 kg CO2 eq/kg.

In the case of both New Zealand Lamb and Brazilian Beef, transportation to the EU market is a minor factor in terms of GHG emissions.

This information will be compared to the same products of EU origin in phase two of the project.

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