In 2009, Goodland and Anhang calculated that emissions from animal-based meats, egg products, and dairy products were at least 51% of man-made releases, based on many sources of overlooked and undercounted emissions. First, extrapolating FAO’s data for the 12% increase in livestock products worldwide from 2002 to 2009, accounts for about 2.5 billion tons of CO2e, or 4% of GHG emissions.
And, the percentage of GHGs worldwide attributable to undercounting in FAO's official livestock statistics was over 10%. Updating GHGs from older FAO data, and adjusting for differences in efficiencies, brings the total from these four sources to over 5.5 billion tons, or 8.7% of man-made GHGs.
Second, adding emissions that were misallocated in current GHG inventories, equates to at least 3 billion tons of CO2e, or 4.7% of GHG emissions worldwide. These emissions consist of ten sources of GHGs listed under five categories, including (1) missing countries, (2) farmed fish, and (3) marine and land-based industries dedicated to handling up to half the annual catch of marine organisms destined to feed livestock.
The emissions also include (4) fluorocarbons, (5) cooking, (6) disposal of liquid waste, (7) disposal of waste livestock products, (8) the production, distribution, and disposal of byproducts, (9) packaging, and (10) disease. These ten sources are likely far higher that 3 billion tons.
In addition, overlooked CO2 from livestock respiration was 13.7%; overlooked releases from land use changes was 4.2%; and for undercounted CH4, it was 7.9%. These three sources of GHGs are explored next, in the Part III. Adding these extra emissions to FAO's 2006 figure of 7.5 billion tons, or an adjusted 11.8%, brings the total to 51%.
Goodland and Anhang accepted many of FAO's conservative figures, for example, CH4 at 37%, that are likely higher. And the two researchers did not fully account for other missing sources, such as seafood, water use, waste pollution, dead zones, fish kills, die-offs, disease, and illness.
However, even if the most disputed inclusion of respiration and/or sequestration was excluded from the sector's emissions, as they currently are, post-farmgate sources would more than make up for their collective 13.7% of man-made GHG releases. This point is critical to understanding FAO's cradle-to-gate assessment and Goodland and Anhang's revision.
A full accounting of emissions from Scope 3 sources explored in Part III would easily surpass the 13.7% listed for respiration. And, undercounted emissions from deforestation makes up for the 4.2% included for land use and sequestration. Plus, a full accounting of methane, including it's increasing global warming potential, in addition to undercounted releases from non-CO2 gases, makes up for the difference in numbers used for CH4.
Moreover, all of the GHGs being released from the livestock sector are increasing at a much faster rate than emissions from fossil fuel industries. In additon, there are national and international agreements to cap fossil fuel emissions by 2030, while no similar proposals exist for the dangerous emissions from animal-based agribusiness. If they are not now over 51% of man-made GHG emissions, with business-as-usual and the expected increase in the sector's GHGs emissions, animal-based agribusiness's share will certainly be by 2050.