Cow farts and livestock dangerous for climate change: Bill Gates
- A new study shows that
meat consumptionhabits are increasing, which could lead to an overall increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Livestockis responsible for the same amount of carbon emissions as transport.
- Scientists in India are exploring how to tailor the diet of cattle so that they produce 12-15% less methane.
Talking of the growing concerns on
A 2018 study, titled ‘The Future of Meat’ published in Science Mag explores the correlation between human meat consumption and population growth. Conclusions drawn show how these consumption habits are increasing and because of which, not only is it a health hazard for humans but there are negative consequences for the
However, there are two key areas other than the growing population and their intake of meat -- manufacturing of building materials and agriculture -- which may have a dangerous consequence, according to him.
While the world is on a swing to twice the number of buildings by 2060, the letter highlighted that the raw materials used for buildings constitute 21% of the
Contributing his bit, Gates was addressing climate change via Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed at enhancing healthcare.
Livestock, inclusive of cattle, chickens, sheep, pigs and goats, are responsible for nearly 14.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to the United National Food and Agriculture Organisation.
That means that the emissions from livestock are at par, if not a little in excess, with emissions from transport that stand at around 14% according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
AdvertisementThe analysis done in the study compares the variation in the levels of GHG emissions across different meat production cycles. Their study shows that ruminant mammals like
Even in comparing the different production systems, intensive rearing is more environmentally friendly than its extensive counterparts.
What can India do?
It’s no secret that India is home to largest cow population in the world. Between Mother Dairy, Amul and various regional milk brands, milk is essentially India’s largest ‘crop’ valued at around ₹650 billion.
There are a quite a few different schools of thought on the matter. While some approach the problem from the consumption side, where human choice behavior is analysed, others believe the solutions lie in changing livestock rearing techniques.
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is working towards tailoring the diet of cattle in such a way that
According to their study so far, the tailored diet can mean up to 12-15% less methane emissions from cows and buffaloes.
The issues of livestock rearing and consumption patterns are highly localised and need policy changes at a local level. There is no blanket solution that can be applied globally and be conducive for all countries involved.
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