The Farming Social Hub - a voice for the farming community

Don’t single out cattle in climate discussions

Cattle should not be singled out for blame in the discussions around climate change as many operations in both the beef and dairy sector are helping move towards a sustainable future, it is reported in Farmers Weekly magazine.

The words of support for beef and dairy farmers comes from the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA).

As the two-week COP26 climate summit in Glasgow ended on Friday (12 November), the BCVA said it broadly welcomed the global pledge by more than 100 countries to curb emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 that emerged as one of the first agreements.

According to researchers at Our World in Data, agriculture, forestry and land use accounts for 18.4% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Roughly 5.8 per cent of this figure of 18.4 per cent is attributed to “livestock and manure”, including methane produced as a by-product through a process called “enteric fermentation” when microbes in their digestive system break down food.

The latest official Defra government data for 2019 shows that UK agriculture is responsible for around 10 per cent of UK GHG emissions – and just 6 per cent if only considering livestock farming.

By contrast, Transport (27 per cent) was the largest emitting sector, followed by Energy Supply (21 per cent), Business (17 per cent) and Residential (15 per cent).