Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest level in 650,000 years and we have
seen 19 of the warmest years since 2000. Livestock and thus dairy farming undeniably
contribute to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Torsten Hemme, founder of IFCN, states:
“The GHG emissions of dairy farming account for about 2.2% of global GHG emissions.
IFCN research shows that emerging countries account for 75% of those e missions and for
approximately 100% of its growth over the past 20 years”. However, the dairy sector plays
a vital role in providing high quality protein to billions of people and livelihoods to
millions of farmers.
By focusing on climate neutrality, the IFCN wants to provide a basis for decision-making
and discussion through well-founded data and facts. The IFCN Dairy Baseline 2050
shows that GHG emission per kilogram of milk globally will decline by 28% worldwide,
driven by the observed trend towards higher milk yields. As a result, growing global milk
demand of + 50% will only cause + 8% additional GHG emissions in dairy farming in the
next 30 years.
Carbon neutral farming requires befitting farming systems
So what does it take to reduce these GHG emissions in dairy farming? The Dairy
Conference aimed to provide answers by inviting speakers from leading global
institutions and companies. The panellists came to the conclusion that carbon neutral
dairy farming will become possible with fitting farming systems, improved farm
management, better access to financial resources in combination with new technologies
and a common dairy initiative. Donald Moore (Global Dairy Platform), stated:
“By launching the Net Zero, Pathways to Low-Carbon Dairy initiative, the global dairy
sector will demonstrate leadership in tackling climate change while protecting the vital role
dairy plays in nutrition, and socio-economic outcomes.”
The good news is that the large majority of participants (81%) agrees that dairy farming
can become carbon neutral by 2050. However, it is more likely that developed countries
will get there first, so it is important to find a collaborative approach. Jason Clay from
WWF recommends: “Let’s build better knowledge sharing platforms – on how to reduce
carbon emission in dairy. We need to learn faster”. IFCN would like to thank all
participants, panellists and sponsors for their contributions that will help dairy on its way
into the future.
Press Release: 22nd IFCN Dairy Conference 2021