The greenhouse gas emissions linked to intensive livestock production have escalated climate disasters in Africa and the larger global south, derailing the transition to a resilient and green future, campaigners said Tuesday.
Speaking during the virtual launch of a report by World Animal Protection (WAP), an international animal welfare charity in Nairobi, campaigners urged a moratorium on factory-based livestock farming to curb the emission of planet-warming gases.
“Factory farming poses a core obstacle in achieving the targets laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement and casts a dark shadow over the prospect of a climate-safe future,” said Tennyson Williams, director for Africa at WAP.
In its report, “How Factory Farming Emissions Are Worsening Climate Disasters in the Global South,” WAP states that attaining net-zero targets could be a mirage unless demand for animal-based protein dips significantly.
The report notes that factory farming contributes at least 11 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, escalating climate disasters like heatwaves, cyclones, droughts, and flooding.
The report finds that factory farms in the Global North are responsible for 8.65 billion U.S. dollars worth of damage linked to climate disasters in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It also observes that by 2050, economic costs associated with climate emergencies could exceed 1 trillion U.S. dollars annually, with factory farms liable for over 100 billion dollars of that cost.
Despite its threat to ecosystems and public health, intensive livestock farming is set for growth in Africa, where demand for meat is poised to surge by 30 percent by 2030, said Victor Yamo, the Humane and Sustainable Agriculture Campaigns manager at WAP.
“Factory farms are highly reliant on commodity feeds and are behind deforestation which in turn is fueling climate change. These farms are also driving environmental pollution and the spread of zoonotic diseases,” Yamo said.
Yamo said that decarbonizing livestock systems in Africa by returning to traditional practices that are in harmony with nature would place the continent on a climate-resilient trajectory.
In addition, said Yamo, the ongoing UN climate summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, should consider setting aside a fund to help small-holder livestock herders in the continent adapt to climate change.