Reducing Russian greenhouse gases from agriculture

Green Cross Russia has released an analytical brief “Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Farm Livestock Droppings and Farmyard Manure in Russia and Recovery Measures.” The analysis found that annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from livestock farming in Russia amounts to approximately one third of Russian emissions. Furthermore, animals in large agricultural organisations emit more than half of this amount. Slightly less than half is emitted by the animals kept on private farms, which typically keep at most 2 or 3 cattle or pigs on average.

Agricultural waste, primarily farm animal waste, is both a direct and indirect source of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide and methane. During the course of decomposition in manure yards, manure emits various gases, including methane. Manure yard waste entering water reservoirs causes the spreading of blue-green algae, which emit a lot carbon dioxide during their life and methane when they die off. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), livestock farming contribute to as much as 18 per cent of global greenhouse gases. Technical and technological restructuring of the agricultural industry enables GHG emissions to be at least halved and grants a right to sell the related СО2 allowances in the international market.
Therefore, the analysis recommends the modernization of large farms with cattle stock of about 1,000, pig stock of about 10,000 and poultry stock of about 30,000 in order to utilize the methane released for electricity and heat generation. Modernization includes installation of equipment for anaerobic fermentation of droppings and manure and further biogasification.
Green Cross Russia conducted the analysis on the basis of the 2008 Russian National Agricultural Census done by the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation (Rosstat). The analysis sought to assess the level of GHG emissions from livestock droppings and manure in the Russian Federation and to recommend steps aimed at reducing these emissions.
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