National and international climate legislation requires significant reductions in GHG emissions in the short and long term. This will demand the implementation of existing and new mitigation technologies, and the documentation of their implementation via appropriate activity data and emission factors.
Current estimates of the potential for reducing GHG emissions using existing measures are about 30% for enteric CH4 emissions and 20-30% for soil CH4 and N2O emissions. Much higher emission reductions may be achievable using measures applied to manure management but depend crucially on the measure and the context under which it is implemented.
A major impact of the MELS project will be to allow the effect of the context to be better taken into account at the national and farm scales.
The enhancement of the DATAMAN database in MELS will provide a resource for improved constraint and uncertainty reduction in the generation of national inventories. At the national scale, improved emission methodologies are only useful if accompanied by appropriate and documented activity data. The dispersed nature of agriculture makes it difficult and expensive to access such data.
MELS will identify how this could be achieved using existing and new technologies, in particular how data available at the farm scale could be utilised.
Improvement of methodologies for national inventory compilation regarding livestock production systems
Transparency in the GHG accounting at the livestock farm scale
At the farm scale, GHG accounting can be used to support policies ranging from information campaigns, through subsidies, taxation and emission-intensity market mechanisms, to obligatory implementation of mitigation measures. In all cases
MELS will help maintain confidence in the integrity of the calculations by indicating where standardisation is appropriate and by identifying methods to maintain transparency.
Given regional variations in the cost of labour and materials, the cost of mitigation measures is likely to vary between countries.
MELS will develop generic methods to link the efficiencies of mitigation measures to their costs, allowing more informed decisions at the farm and national scales (via the identification, quantification and costing of measures, including management strategies, to reduce losses to the environment).