International meat bodies urge IPCC to re-evaluate emissions measurement

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

International meat bodies urge IPCC to re-evaluate emissions measurement

Related tags British meat processors association National farmers union Meat industry Sustainability Greenhouse gas Beef Pork Lamb Poultry Livestock Processing and packaging Innovation

The international agricultural industry has joined forces to urge the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to evaluate the more accurate global warming potential (GWP) metric of GWP*/GWP used to measure the contribution of short-lived greenhouse gases (GHG) to global warming.

Who signed the letter?

Stuart Roberts, National Farmers Union

Andrew McCornick, National Farmers Union of Scotland

JR Davies, National Farmers Union CYMRU

Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association

Alan Clarke, Quality Meat Scotland

Scott Donaldson, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland

Mark Bridgeman, Country Land and Business Association

Nick Allen, British Meat Processors Association

Kevin Roberts, Hybu Cig Cymru

Ivor Ferguson, Ulster Farmers Union

John Loughlin, Meat Industry Association

Ian Stevenson, Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland

Andrew Morrison, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd

Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers of New Zealand

David Barron, Scottish Beef Association

Andy McGowan, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers

In a letter signed by 16 bodies from the UK and New Zealand​, the IPPC was called on to use what the collective deems a more accurate measurement of the behaviour of methane in the atmosphere. Currently GWP100 is used as a measurement for measuring impact.

It said: “While GWP100 is the accepted metric for describing the warming impact of greenhouse gases, it is acknowledged to have shortcomings when it comes to the temperature response of short-lived emissions such as methane. GWP-we provides a more accurate measure of the behaviour of methane in the atmosphere and its net contribution to global warming.

“Using metrics that inaccurately capture the contribution to warming of short-lived gases could lead to poor policy decisions. While all parts of our society must show leadership and play their part in addressing climate change, policy advice needs to reflect solutions that distinguish between the dynamics of biogenic methane and gases that persist in the atmosphere for long periods.”

Urgent challenge

Also in the letter, the groups warned that “climate change is one of the world’s most urgent challenges and farmers are amongst the first to see its impact on food production as they deal with the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather, such as droughts and floods”​.

It was suggested that farming offers solutions to some climate change issues including: improving farming’s productive efficiency to reduce GHG emissions; farmland carbon storage in soils and vegetation and boosting renewable energy and the bio-economy, to avoid GHG emissions from fossil fuels, and to create GHG removal through photosynthesis and carbon capture.

A British Meat Processors Association spokesperson added: “The science surrounding how we measure the climate change impact of ruminant livestock production is still emerging and we are already seeing the latest GWP metric from Oxford Martin School seriously challenge the traditional GWP100 method of predicting warming. Indeed, the difference can be so big that it can mean the difference between various methane scenarios being ‘warming’ or ‘cooling’.

“At the upcoming Rethink Forum on 17 March in London, we will be gathering the scientists who are on the front line of this research to debate with them how these new findings can inform government policy and what part the UK consumer can play.​.”

GlobalMeatNews recently held a webinar discussing sustainability in the meat industry. To listen to Futureproof: Sustainability in the international meat industry, click here​​.

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