Livestock and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Explore livestock greenhouse gas emissions by region, species, production systems, and products.

This visualisation presents results from the Global Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM); demonstrating both the scale of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different livestock product sources and the significant variation in emissions intensity (volume of GHG per unit of livestock product).

The aim is to illustrate and promote the data, which is available to download from the GLEAM webpage, to demonstrate to livestock stakeholders that the sustainability of production can be improved.

GLEAM is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework, meaning the entire production chain, from feed production to retail, is included in the assessment; including product flows and inputs both on-farm and off-farm. An IPCC (2006) Tier methodology is used, with more detail available in the GLEAM Model Description.

The visualisation presents point estimates from the LCAs, describing average situations. GHG emissions are subject to large uncertainties; associated with the calculation of GHG emission factors, estimations of activity data (e.g. populations, herd parameters) and assumptions made where data was not available. Publications of GLEAM results detail how uncertainty is analysed.

Evidently, the livestock sector contributes significant quantities of GHG emissions. However, a key message from this visualisation is the significant variation in the emissions intensity associated with different sources of protein production. Suggesting that GHG emissions can be reduced by improving livestock production efficiency.

Header photo: Livestock graze on an island in the Niger. Photo: Stevie Mann (ILRI) (source)