Five practical actions towards low-carbon livestock
This publication (PDF) of FAO describes how five practical actions can be widely implemented in integrative and sustainable ways for measurable and rapid impacts on livestock emissions, taking account the diversity of livestock systems and enhancing synergies and managing tradeoffs with other sustainable development objectives. Action 1: Boosting efficiency of livestock production and resource use. Better management practices can boost production efficiency. Extensive and labour-intensive ruminant systems with low productivity are targets for low carbon investments. Technological innovations make resource use more efficient. Action 2: Intensifying recycling efforts and minimizing losses for a circular bioeconomy. Countries using generated biomass are expected to see better economic and environmental returns. Unused crop residues, food waste, and agro-industrial by-products are lost opportunities to use for animal feed. Manure and slaughterhouse waste can be used to generate fertilizer and biogas. Action 3: Capitalizing on nature-based solutions to ramp up carbon offsets. Halting expansion into forests for feed production and pasture is an effective way for livestock systems to tackle climate change. Soil carbon sequestration through regenerative grazing practices and restoring degraded land can help put carbon back in the ground. Livestock farms can contribute to renewable energy production through biogas, solar and wind power. Action 4: Striving for healthy, sustainable diets and accounting for protein alternatives. Convergence on healthy diets means high-income countries reduce animal-source food consumption and low-income countries benefit from improved access. Biotechnological innovations transform production of proteins for consumers and feeding livestock. New alternative proteins could present consumers with climate-smart choices. Action 5: Developing policy measures to drive change. Policy approaches vary across regions, systems and contexts, reflecting different constraints and opportunities and need to be self-correcting to avoid unintended impacts. Integrating different types of policy approaches may yield best results to support transformative practices while helping to reduce stakeholder risk. Subsidies can be better aligned with climate action priorities.