Ed Miliband MP, the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has tabled an amendment to the Climate Change Bill to include methane and nitrous oxide in the commitment to curb UK greenhouse gases emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
The Bill had initially set the target without including methane and nitrous oxide, but the new Secretary of State has heeded recommendations by Lord Turner, Chair of the Climate Change Committee, and Compassion in World Farming to tackle climate change with a more comprehensive approach.
On 8 October Compassion in World Farming wrote to the new Secretary of State, asking him to include nitrous oxide and methane emissions in the Climate Change Bill.
Emissions from livestock farming consist not only of carbon dioxide, but also - and to a much greater extent - of methane and nitrous oxide, which are even more damaging than carbon dioxide.
According to the FAO, livestock production is responsible globally for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transport (14 per cent). The mineral fertiliser used to grow animal feed produces nitrous oxide, which also results from manure. Methane comes from the digestive system of animals, as well as from manure.
Compassion in World Farming believes that in order to meet the challenge of the 8 per cent target, new policies need to be implemented to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by livestock production.
Joyce D'Silva, Ambassador for Compassion in World Farming, said: "The contribution of livestock farming to global warming has been so far underplayed. It is vital that the government now addresses this issue. There should be no "holy cows" when the future of our planet is at stake. Consumers can play their part by reducing their total meat consumption and buying only welfare-friendly animal products".
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