Dairy sector adds 4 percent to man-made emissions: FAO

Healthy Holstein dairy cows feed at a farm in central Washington in this December, 24, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Jeff Green/Files

MILAN (Reuters) - The dairy sector accounts for 4 percent of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report.

The dairy sector emitted 1.969 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2007, of which 1.328 billion tonnes were due to dairy production and 151 million tonnes to meat from culled dairy animals, the FAO said.

Global milk production, processing and transportation accounted for 2.7 percent of the world man made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the FAO said.

The dairy sector could boost biogas output to cut emission of methane, which accounts for about 52 percent of GHG emissions the sector produces, and carbon emissions could be captured if grassland management were improved, the FAO said.

Recommendations on how to cut GHG emissions from the dairy sector will come at a later stage, when the programme of biophysical and economic analysis of mitigation options is completed, the Rome-based agency said.

The report, covering production systems from nomadic herds to intensified dairy operations, was posted on FAO’s website

FAO’s report on livestock emissions in 2006 established that 18 percent of all GHG emissions were caused by the livestock sector.

Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova