COP28: Methane reducing solutions can transform cattle into climate champions
11 December 2023
Utilizing science-based solutions to reduce methane emissions from the global cattle herd can play an important role in reducing the impact on global warming from livestock and complement other solutions proposed in the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) global food systems roadmap released at the COP28 summit in Dubai late yesterday.
Speaking after returning from COP28, Rumin8 CEO David Messina said companies like Rumin8 were seeking to meet FAO’s goal of reducing methane emissions from livestock by reducing emissions at their source – the cow.
Rumin8 CEO David Messina said science-based solutions, such as methane reducing feed additives, were succeeding in turning cattle into ‘climate champions’ while at the same time ensuring a sustainable future for the rural communities in developed and developing nations who rely on livestock for their livelihoods and existence. This was a key focus of the FAO roadmap.
“The cow is not the climate enemy, the methane they produce is. Promising solutions are being developed to reduce methane from livestock, which play a critical role in the global food system in feeding both developed and developing countries,” Mr Messina said.
“These solutions are really important to ensure that meat and milk can remain an important source of nutrition and economic support for people around the world, particularly in developing nations.”
“Reducing consumption is one approach. Reducing climate intensity from beef and dairy production is another. Both seek the same result, but with different impacts on different sectors.”
Breakthrough Energy is an investor in Rumin8 and other climate-focused technologies. In its recently released State of the Transition 2023 Report, Breakthrough Energy found that:
1. Food demand will only increase as our population grows so finding ways to feed the world without contributing to emissions was key. This included finding better ways to fertilize plants, raise livestock, conserve water, and reduce food waste.
2. Methane from cows and livestock is the dominant driver of agriculture emissions. However, by 2050, there could be an additional 500 million cows roaming the planet.
3. New technologies like cow vaccines and methane reducing feeds could help significantly. Going forward, the challenges were as much geographical and cultural as they are technological. But while there’s no one-size fits-all solution, it’s clear we need more public R&D funding so we can continue to develop better ways to feed the world without contributing to emissions.
“The State of the Transition 2023 Report presents a realistic snapshot of global food trends and finds that there will be greater demand for beef, not less, into the future,” Mr Messina said.
Rumin8 is on a mission to decarbonize 100 million cattle by 2030, equivalent to 200 million metric tonnes of CO₂ reduction a year or retiring 100 million petrol cars.
The company is using a pharmaceutical approach to reproduce and stabilise nature’s solutions to make highly effective and commercially scalable feed supplements that reduce methane emissions from livestock.
“Overall, we are exceptionally happy with the results we are achieving.” Mr Messina said.
Rumin8 has reported its product trials are achieving methane emissions reductions from cattle of 50-90 per cent in a feed lot situation and 24-50 per cent in grazing animals.
“Breakthrough Energy and our other investors supported Rumin8 because they want to create a significant impact on methane emission from cattle, and the efficacy we have seen indicates that significant impact is very achievable” Mr Messina said.
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