Publication Date

2020

Award Category

STEM

Abstract

As the livestock industry contributes 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2 eq. annually to anthropogenic emissions, and the industry is expected to grow approximately 70% by 2050, it is imperative that mitigation opportunities are explored to decrease emissions from the industry. In this paper, a meta-analysis of four mitigation opportunities were analyzed that would target the four stages of the livestock lifecycle analysis- feed production, enteric fermentation, manure management, and energy consumption. The first strategy explored was to increase soil vegetation time through the use of fertilizers and agroecological methods to increase the soil used for feed production’s ability to sequester CO2. The second strategy explored was implementing small and large scale methane digesters to farms globally to sequester methane emitted by ruminant species and use this methane as a fuel source for other industry activities. The next strategy was improving animal feed and genetics through the use of chemicals and pharmaceuticals to the feed and to the animals to decrease the amount of methane the animals produced during enteric fermentation. The last strategy was to convert all fossil fuel energy requiring processes within the lifecycle to renewable sources of energy to omit the necessity for fossil fuels in energy consumption processes within the industry. It was found that the cumulative effect of the implementation of all strategies would result in a 3.235 gigatonnes of CO2 eq., or 45.564% reduction of greenhouse gasses from the livestock industry globally. This was modeled through the use of stabilization wedges to visualize the effect of these mitigation strategies.

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