Mitigation by reducing enteric methane emissions

It will be challenging for farmers to mitigate or reduce FCH4, although some prospective opportunities have emerged (Table 9.1). Further, even if technical solutions are available, these need to be practical to implement and economically viable if they are to be adopted by farmers. This latter point is highly important since, at present, there are limited incentives for the adoption of mitigation technologies by farmers because of the general lack of a price signal; emission trading schemes are in place in a number of countries but so far none of these schemes include ruminant agriculture. A further point is that reductions in greenhouse emissions need to be viewed holistically. For example, reducing on-farm FCH4 by feeding more grain to ruminants brings no net benefit if carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions are increased elsewhere in the food production value chain. This displacement of emissions is sometimes referred to as 'leakage'.

Table 9.1 Methods that have been proposed to reduce enteric CH4 emissions from ruminant livestock

Short term

Medium term

Long term

Reduce animal numbers

Rumen modifiers

Targeted manipulation of

Increase productivity per

Select plants that produce

rumen ecosystem

animal

lower CH4 yield by the animals

Breed animals with low CH4

Manipulate diet

yield

Rumen modifiers

Note: The methods have been classified by judgement of the prospect for availability in the short (available now), medium (likely to be commercially available within ten years) and long term (unlikely to be commercially available within ten years).

Note: The methods have been classified by judgement of the prospect for availability in the short (available now), medium (likely to be commercially available within ten years) and long term (unlikely to be commercially available within ten years).

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