The calculations estimate a total Global Warming Potential (GWP) of European Livestock production of 661 Mio tons of CO2-equivalent© EU
JRC report evaluating Greenhouse Gas effects of European livestock
The Commission has published a new report by the Joint Research Centre looking at the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) effects of European livestock. It was commissioned to provide an estimation of the net emissions of GHG generated by EU animal production on the basis of a life-cycle assessment.
The calculations estimate a total Global Warming Potential (GWP) of European Livestock production of 661 Mio tons of CO2-eq – equivalent to 9.1%-12.8% of total EU emissions (2004), depending on the assumptions for emissions from land use and land use change. This is considerably lower than the estimated 18% figure for global production presented in the 2006 FAO report "Livestock's long shadow".
Estimates per kg of meat show that the highest average net emissions are for ruminant meat (22.2 kg for beef and 20.3 kg per kg of sheep and goat meat), while the production of pork (7.5 kg) and poultry meat (4.9 kg) create significantly lower emissions due to a more efficient digestion process and the absence of enteric fermentation. Average EU emissions from milk are much lower - 1.4 kg of CO2-eq (cow's milk) and 2.9 kg (sheep & goat milk). The report also looks at the likely impact of Brazilian beef and poultry and New Zealand sheepmeat. In a hypothetical best case scenario, technological emission reduction measures are estimated to be able to reduce emissions from livestock production systems by 15-19%.