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Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates from Animal Agriculture in Abbotsford

May 22, 2015

The total greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in Abbotsford is estimated at 180,653 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year emitted from animal agriculture. Two thirds of that is nitrous oxide and one third is methane. About 5% originates from methane from the storage of dairy cattle manure.

We have reviewed methane emissions from animal agriculture in the last number of posts. We cannot forget nitrous oxide emissions, especially because it is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than methane. Earlier posts discussed the significance of nitrous oxide emission from soil following fertilizer or manure application, as well as nitrous oxide emission resulting from ammonia redeposition.

 

Estimate of GHG emissions from animal agriculture in Abbotsford for 2011

Estimate of GHG emissions from animal agriculture in Abbotsford for 2011

When we put this all together into one picture, we observe a total GHG emission of 180,653 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year being emitted from animal agriculture in Abbotsford. The primary source of greenhouse gas emission methane emission from the dairy cow, followed by indirect nitrous oxide emission resulting from ammonia emission from dairy and poultry.

Only one-third of the greenhouse gas emission is methane, with less than 20% coming from the manure. Almost two-thirds of the total greenhouse gas emission is nitrous oxide, most of it resulting from indirect nitrous oxide emission due to ammonia emission from dairy and poultry facilities.

The larger picture is not complete, it is a summary of the science behind the major contributors to greenhouse gas emission from animal agriculture in British Columbia. It suggests that a more complete study should be made that includes all of our agriculture in Abbotsford in order to give a complete and balanced approach.

There are two important reasons for completing a detailed greenhouse gas emission estimate from agriculture:

1. helps set policies that provide meaningful direction for our agricultural industry

2. our communities will be allowed to include nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture and soil in the upcoming Community Emissions Inventories.

We also need to consider our policies to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the context of other environmental and health priorities in our community.

In a previous post, I had concluded that: “In developing an agricultural waste strategy for our communities, strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly nitrous oxide emissions, are important. Of the greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide from farmland following manure and fertilizer addition is the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture.” (https://johnpaulprofessional.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1629&action=editFollowing the European’s lead in making nutrient management plans mandatory as well as other recommendations as outlined in the previous post has the greatest likelihood of reducing overall GHG emissions in Abbotsford.

A more complete summary of the greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture in Abbotsford can be found here. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Agriculture in Abbotsford

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