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The protein-based GHG emission intensity for livestock products in Canada

Dyer, J.A., Vergé, X.P.C., Desjardins, R.L., Worth, D.E. (2010). The protein-based GHG emission intensity for livestock products in Canada, 34(6), 618-629.


Assessments of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and emission intensities had been carried out prior to this analysis for dairy, beef, pork, and poultry in Canada. The GHG emission intensities of these industries were based on different units of food produced. In this paper, the GHG emission intensities of the four livestock industries were compared on the basis of the weight of protein produced. The protein-based emission intensity for beef was almost four times as high as the GHG emission intensity for milk production. The emission intensities of pork production were lower than the emissions from milk production because of lower CH4 emissions. Broilers had the lowest GHG emission intensity of all five livestock commodities. The next lowest GHG intensity was for egg production. The differences between the egg and broiler intensities cannot be attributed to any one GHG. The number of breeding animals that must be maintained in order to produce one animal for slaughter is much higher for cattle than for swine or poultry. The slow means of reproduction of beef cattle is a better explanation for the observed difference between the GHG emission intensities of ruminants and non-ruminants than is enteric methane.© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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