Livestock intensification: No panacea for emissions | Science

During the 28th annual meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) held in November and December 2023, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a roadmap for transforming food systems. The plan aims to end world hunger without breaching the relatively safe 1.5°C global temperature rise threshold (1). The livestock industry is food systems’ biggest climate culprit, accounting for more than half of food systems emissions (2) and at least 16.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (2, 3). FAO’s roadmap calls for intensification of livestock production—i.e., keeping more livestock in less space—to cut GHG emissions. However, this recommendation conflicts with the findings in past FAO reports (4, 5) and will not solve the problem of livestock emissions.

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