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Greenhouse gas, livestock and trade

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Global demand for livestock products is expected to double by 2050, mainly due to the increase of both human population and economic development especially in developing/emerging countries. Livestock supply chains are an important contributor to climate change through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released from animals and land-use change. Research mostly focus on emissions due to production of livestock, and usually does not consider the international displacement of emissions through trade. This paper provides a general overview of the connection between GHG emissions from livestock sector and international trade of livestock products, thus highlighting the relevance of the argument. A special emphasis is given to Brazil and meat as they are high-sensitive country and product to this issue. The significant amount of GHGs that are embodied in traded products should be addressed when designing climate policies, especially for GHG intensive products such as livestock products. Including international trade effect in the action plan for cutting GHG emissions from livestock sector represents a necessary step to incentivize a more sustainable nutrition. Although emissions embodied in trade of agricultural products are identified as a source of environmental impact to be reduced, this paper highlights how they may also represent an opportunity when trade flows from resource abundance countries to resource scarce countries. The paper is addressed to a general public as well as food scientist, technologist, researchers or policymakers interested in gaining knowledge about the connection between livestock trade and climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability
EditorsGeoffrey Smithers
Number of pages5
Publication year2019
ISBN (print)978-0-12-812688-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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