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Surprise: farming is a barrier to global warming

With the new metrics, in Italy 49 million tons of CO2 less in ten years / Attachment

Italian breeding contributes to combating global warming and mitigating climate change. This is in summary the result of the work of a team of Italian researchers, who have recalculated the emissions of our country's livestock sector using a new metric proposed by a group of atmospheric physicists from Oxford, and published in Nature.

"The introduction of these new metrics due to the work of the pool of British physicists is destined to change the frame of the debate on the sustainability of the livestock system", commented Giuseppe Pulina, president of Carni Sostenibili, the non-profit for conscious consumption and the sustainable production of meat and cured meats. The study by Oxford researchers in fact took into consideration for the first time the difference in terms of action on global warming between short-lived climatic pollutants, such as methane, and long-lived climatic pollutants such as carbon dioxide.

In fact, the researchers observed that if a greenhouse gas remains in the atmosphere for a short time, its effect on global warming is null if emissions remain constant every year, and negative (i.e. the atmosphere cools down) if emissions decrease , this is because by reducing its concentration its contribution to the greenhouse effect is also reduced, but it is strongly warming if emissions increase as this type of gas has a much higher serrigen power than CO2. The new metrics, therefore, take into account this difference and in particular of how long a gas remains in the atmosphere, a substantial difference if we consider that methane has practically disappeared after 50 years, while carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for over a thousand years.

The team of Italian researchers on the basis of the official data published by the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) from 1990 to 2020, applied these new metrics to methane emissions from all Italian livestock supply chains and subsequently compared the results with those obtained using the old metrics. What emerges is not only a significant reduction in emissions, but even a negative impact on the environmental footprint. In fact, if we look at the total cumulative contribution of Italian livestock production to global warming in the last ten years - methane and nitrous oxide emissions - with the application of the new metrics this decreases until it becomes negative: from +206 million tons of CO2 equivalent calculated with the old method of global warming potential to - 49 million tons estimated with the new metrics.

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