10 October 2023

Methane - Karl Flowers writes: The FAO LEAP Methane Emissions in Livestock and Rice Systems

After my first reading of all 350 odd pages. It looks like the petrochemical industry is now behind on this one.


Methane is seen as the lowest hanging fruit in what many regard as the quickest way to reduce the rate of global warming.


The report is broken into 4 sections and sticks very closely to its remit of reporting and commenting on the methane associated with livestock and summarises very neatly all the relevant numbers. Criticism of a lack of context of biogenic methane amongst larger climate sources of methane is a fault of the United Nations. Another way of looking at it, is the responsibility of the United Nations to look at how methane, as a low hanging fruit, can be targeted by the livestock sector (under FAO LEAP) and another forum that handles fossil methane. The second forum is a complete no-show to the party. So, the reader is left with one side of the story thinking that the one side they know about is now wholly responsible for climate mitigation.


It is exceedingly frustrating that fossil methane is not held equally accountable in any cross-reference from this document – which is probably an attempt to keep the report itself apolitical. The community proudly handling this document, however, should not be so polite and should shove the evidence they now have in the face of a deficient oil industry that needs to face legal consequences for their lack of mitigation action.


A very important part of the report was the ways in which mitigation of rumen-linked methane could be handled. A list of these is given below:

  • Increased animal production
  • Selection for low methane-producing animals
  • Improved feed efficiency
  • Improved animal health
  • Improved animal reproduction
  • Increased feeding levels
  • Decreased forage to concentrate ratio
  • Starch concentrate sources and modification
  • Supplementation of lipids
  • Forage storage and processing and digestability
  • Perennial legumes (including tannin content)
  • High starch forages
  • High sugar grasses
  • Pasture and grazing management
  • Ionophores
  • Chemical inhibitors of methane
  • Immunisation against methanogens
  • Bromoform-containing seaweeds (and other seaweeds)
  • Defaunation
  • Alternative electron acceptors
  • Essential oils
  • Tannin extracts
  • Saponins
  • Biochar and biofat
  • Direct fed microbials
  • Early life rumen interventions


The discussion around the use of GWP* (a step-pulse metric) is also dealt with comprehensively, with the report asking the question whether LCA reporting can consider pulse emission metrics as well as step-pulse metrics to take into consideration the differences between biogenic and fossil methane, both short-lived gases, which can have different temporal effects relating to climate impacts.

About APLF

We bring leather, material and fashion businesses together: an opportunity to meet and greet face to face. We bring them from all parts of the world so that they can find fresh partners, discover new customers or suppliers and keep ahead of industry developments.


We organise a number of trade exhibitions which focus on fashion and lifestyle: sectors that are constantly in flux, so visitors and exhibitors alike need to be constantly aware both of the changes around them and those forecast for coming seasons.


Follow Us On:

Contact us