Taking stock of Africa’s livestock emissions
This article out of the September issue of Down to Earth Magazine highlights a study, performed by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. The study challenged the estimates of greenhouse gasses from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the scientists, the emissions of African livestock are two times lower then IPCC suggest. The study found that faecal methane emissions are two times lower, 10-20 times lower for faecal nitrous oxide (NO2) and two times lower for urine. The difference in estimates can be clarified by the lack of data that the IPCC collects in the developing world. Most data used in the studies of the IPCC is collected in Europe and Northern America and does not take in to account the different livestock systems around the world. For example, in Kenya and most of the African countries the feed that cattle consumes differ per season because of different climates, what makes that the emissions in cattle manure varies. This study shows that it is important to add local studies to establish the accuracy of the IPCC data.