Livestock Methane Emissions Reduction Essential for Agriculture and Food Systems

World Food Day marks a significant day accompanied by the launch of the new expert panel on Livestock Methane to assist in fostering more evidence-based debates around livestock’s climate impacts. This panel will outline what can be done to actualize the reduction of methane emissions considering its role in global warming. Livestock is the single largest source of methane from human activity, accounting for 32% of emissions that increase the occurrence of climate eventualities.

In preparations for COP28, World Food Day emphasized the call made by the UAE earlier on for an urgency to integrate food systems and agriculture into national climate agendas. UAE as the host of this year’s COP meeting had launched COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, part of its ambitious action plan aimed at keeping 1.5C within reach.

The COP28 Presidency is set to bring together businesses, farmer and producer organizations, and other non-state actors to drive progress across production, consumption, food loss, and waste. These efforts are aimed at collectively bringing the stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector together for an acceleration of existing initiatives across food systems, agriculture, and climate action.

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment and COP28 Food Systems Lead, said that the COP28 Presidency’s commitment to prioritizing food systems demonstrates a dedication to addressing pressing global challenges.

“By mobilizing national leadership, engaging non-state actors, scaling innovation, and securing financing, COP28 aims to drive transformative change to secure a sustainable future for all,” COP28 Food Systems Lead, Mariam Almeirhi said.

According to Claudia Arndt, Senior Scientist and team leader of the International Livestock Research Institute’s Mazingira Centre in Kenya, there’s a need to develop context-specific approaches when dealing with livestock emissions.

The calls for regulation of livestock keeping and farming as well as possible dietary change as an important part of the livestock methane reduction solution have been contentious matters arousing diverse opinions and approaches.

Claudia Arndt pointed out that in low- and middle-income countries livestock is important culturally and economically attributed to the key role in maintaining food security and adapting to climate impacts. Hence suggesting the importance of a balance between climate goals and sustainable development.

As cited by experts Ngoni Chirinda, Professor of Sustainable Tropical Agriculture, at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco, and Prof Mark Howden, Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, at the Australian National University, financial support for farmers in low- and middle-income countries toward reducing methane emissions from livestock keeping is crucial.

Revealing that despite the presence of technologies aimed at reducing emissions, most of them are in their relative infancy and are not yet cost-effective for farmers in the absence of strong policy support.

Therefore, citing more investment as a requirement in extension services and innovations that will help farmers improve livestock nutrition and health enabling them to increase productivity without increasing herd size and methane emissions.

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