Grazed and confused?: ruminating on cattle, grazing systems, methane, nitrous oxide, the soil carbon sequestration question – and what it all means for greenhouse gas emissions
Grazing livestock is linked to climate change. They can boost the sequestration of carbon in some locally specific circumstances. At the global level, they are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, directly linked to global warming. The conclusion: Eat less meat and dairy products. These startling findings were made public, after two years of a collaboration study by researchers led by Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network at the University of Oxford. Cecile Godde at Australia's national science agency, the CSIRO, is one of the authors. The study, which aims to help minimise carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through grazing actions, holds relevance for India too as it supports one of the world's largest populations of grass-fed livestock, ranks number one in milk production. The report, "Grazed and Confused?", says grass-fed livestock are not a climate solution. They are, in fact, net contributors to the climate problem, as are all livestock. The cattle emit gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, and contribute the majority share of total agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.