The dairy industry is responsible for about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Methane emissions make up half of this.1
In 2007, the sector emitted almost two billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Two thirds was linked to milk production and the rest to meat products from dairy animals.
The report follows a 2006 FAO study, Livestock’s Long Shadow, which suggested the dairy and meat industries accounted for almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions (ENDS Report 409, pp 25-26). The farming sector treated this finding with scepticism and trade association Dairy UK said the new figures prove dairy cows are not environmental villains.