Choice of method

It is good practice to choose the method for estimating methane emissions from enteric fermentation according to the decision tree in Figure 10.2. The method for estimating methane emission from enteric fermentation requires three basic steps:

Figure 10.2 Decision Tree for CH4 Emissions from Enteric Fermentation

Figure 10.2 Decision Tree for CH4 Emissions from Enteric Fermentation


1: See Volume 1 Chapter 4, "Methodological Choice and Identification of Key Categories" (noting Section 4.1.2 on limited resources), for discussion of key categories and use of decision trees.

2: As a rule of thumb, a livestock species would be significant if it accounts for 25-30% or more of emissions from the source category.

Step 1: Divide the livestock population into subgroups and characterize each subgroup as described in Section 10.2. It is recommended that national experts use annual averages estimated with consideration for the impact of production cycles and seasonal influences on population numbers.

Step 2: Estimate emission factors for each subgroup in terms of kilograms of methane per animal per year.

Step 3: Multiply the subgroup emission factors by the subgroup populations to estimate subgroup emission, and sum across the subgroups to estimate total emission.

These three steps can be performed at varying levels of detail and complexity. This chapter presents the following three approaches:

Tier 1

A simplified approach that relies on default emission factors either drawn from the literature or calculated using the more detailed Tier 2 methodology. The Tier 1 method is likely to be suitable for most animal species in countries where enteric fermentation is not a key source category, or where enhanced characterization data are not available. When approximate enteric emissions are derived by extrapolation from main livestock categories they should be considered to be a Tier 1 method.

Tier 2

A more complex approach that requires detailed country-specific data on gross energy intake and methane conversion factors for specific livestock categories. The Tier 2 method should be used if enteric fermentation is a key source category for the animal category that represents a large portion of the country's total emissions.

Tier 3

Some countries for which livestock emissions are particularly important may wish to go beyond the Tier 2 method and incorporate additional country-specific information in their estimates. This approach could employ the development of sophisticated models that consider diet composition in detail, concentration of products arising from ruminant fermentation, seasonal variation in animal population or feed quality and availability, and possible mitigation strategies. Many of these estimates would be derived from direct experimental measurements. Although countries are encouraged to go beyond the Tier 2 method presented below when data are available, these more complex analyses are only briefly discussed here. A Tier 3 method should be subjected to a wide degree of international peer review such as that which occurs in peer-reviewed publications to ensure that they improve the accuracy and / or precision of estimates.

Countries with large populations of domesticated animal species for which there are no IPCC default emission factors (e.g., llamas and alpacas) are encouraged to develop national methods that are similar to the Tier 2 method and are based on well-documented research (if it is determined that emissions from these livestock are significant). The approach is described in Section 10.2.4 under the heading 'Characterisation for livestock without species-specific emission estimation methods' for more information.

Table 10.9 summarises the suggested approaches for the livestock emissions included in this inventory.

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