New research has found that global livestock methane emissions have been under estimated by as much as 11pc.
The research by the Joint Global Change Research Institute found that recent research suggests that existing bottom-up inventories of livestock methane emissions in the US are too low.
It says this may be due to outdated information used to develop these emissions factors and used updated information based on reported recent changes in animal body mass, feed quality and quantity, milk productivity, and management of animals and manure.
The research found that global livestock emissions figuers are 11pc greater than that obtained previously, including an 8.4pc increase in enteric fermentation methane, a 36.7pc increase in manure management methane, and notable variability among regions and sources.
It concludes that livestock methane emissions, while not the dominant overall source of global methane emissions, may be a major contributor to the observed annual emissions increases over the 2000s to 2010s.
“Differences at regional and local scales may help distinguish livestock methane emissions from those of other sectors in future top-down studies.
“The revised estimates allow improved reconciliation of top-down and bottom-up estimates of methane emissions, will facilitate the development and evaluation of Earth system models, and provide consistent regional and global Tier 1 estimates for environmental assessments.”
The findings could have significant implications for Ireland, where agriculture accounts for the majority of methane (CH) emissions in Ireland (85pc) due to the dominance of cattle and sheep livestock production in Irish agricultural output.