Aarhus Universitet

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Trend of greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production at Aarhus Universitet

Expires in 9 days

The intensification of livestock sector contributes to climate change. Direct non-CO2 emissions associated with livestock sector resulting from methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The formers are released by enteric fermentation and manure management whereas the latters are released by manure management and manure left on pasture.

Although, compared with carbon dioxide emissions, CH4 and N2O emissions represent a lower percentage of global GHG emissions, their global warming potentials are 21 and 298 times higher than CO2. In other words one methane and nitrous oxide molecule contribute to climate change, 21 and 310 times more than one carbon dioxide molecule.

Nowadays, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) released from livestock are an emerging problem for several reasons. In particular, the global population is expected to increase over the time as well as, consequently, the food demand. Several studies showed the growth in demand for livestock products, especially meat and milk and its implications in terms of environmental impact. Meat production increased by about 300% from 1961 to 2010, mainly due to beef cattle, pork and chicken meat demand. As a consequence of this rising demand, livestock production is expected to double by 2050. While a cultural change, especially in some specific countries is needed,an estimation of the trend of GHG emissions due to meat production represents an important fundation upon which policies aimed to reduce GHG emissions from livestock can be based.

The thesis will aim to estimate the trend of non-CO2 emissions (such as methane and nitrous oxide) due to production of beef cattle, pork and chicken meat at the global level in historical series (1961-2016). The thesis will assess the total impact of these three livestock categories by using the IPCC guidelines. In a second step, emissions from animals will be allocated to meat on the basis of the production  in each country. In particular, we will focus on micro/macro area of interest that can be important at the global level. The total analysis will update a database which is already carried out few years ago. The candidate will be also asked for fulfilling a scientific publication. 

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