The role of non-CO2 mitigation options within the dairy industry for pursuing climate change targets

K. A. Rolph, C. E. Forest, M. D. Ruark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mitigation of non-CO2 climate forcing agents must complement the mitigation of CO2 to achieve long-term temperature and climate policy goals. A large share of global non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions is attributed to agriculture, with a significant contribution related to dairy production. As demonstrated by the results of a recent USDA coordinated project, Dairy-CAP, dairy farmers can significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by implementing beneficial management practices (BMPs). This study assesses the potential mitigation of projected climate change if greenhouse gases associated with the dairy subsector were reduced. To compare the performance of several mitigation measures under future climate change, we employ a fully coupled Earth system model of intermediate complexity, the MIT Earth System Model. With an interactive carbon-cycle, the model is capable of addressing important feedbacks between the climate and terrestrial biosphere impacting greenhouse gas concentrations. We illustrate the importance of ongoing mitigation efforts in the agricultural sector to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions towards established climate goals. If BMPs are implemented globally within the next three decades, projected warming by the end of the century can be reduced by 0.21 C on average or 6% of total warming, with dairy farm mitigation contributing to 0.03 C of the temperature reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084039
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 6 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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