Climate change poses a potentially devastating economic threat to low-income livestock keepers in poor countries due to increasing heat stress on animals. Globally, by the end of this century, these producers could suffer financial losses between $15 billion and $40 billion a year.
According to a study by an international team of scientists and economists published in the Lancet Planetary Health.
The researchers, including Mario Herrero, professor of sustainable food systems at Cornell University, and lead author Philip Thornton, of the International Livestock Research Institute and CGIAR; published “Impacts of Heat Stress on Global Beef Production in the 21st Century”.
Escalating demand for livestock products in low- and middle-income countries, coupled with steadily rising global average temperatures, is an uncomfortable mix, the researchers said. If livestock need to adapt to new thermal environments and increase their productivity, investments or adjustments in infrastructure – such as switching to more heat-tolerant cattle breeds and improving shade, ventilation and cooling – will be needed.
In the paper’s high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, livestock production losses due to heat stress are estimated at $39.94 billion per year, or 9.8% of the value of livestock production. meat and milk from cattle in 2005 – the benchmark year for scientists. The low emissions scenario projects production losses of $14.9 billion per year, or 3.7% of the 2005 value.
By the end of the century, dairy and beef production in the United States is expected to decline by 6.8%, while India, a major dairy producing country, is expected to lose more than 45% of its dairy farming due to heat stress. increases.
“Resource-poor farmers in low-income countries are highly dependent on their livestock for their livelihoods,” Thornton said. “Adaptation needs are even higher in these countries, and these farmers are the hardest hit.”
With climate change, agriculture and sustainability, Herrero suggested there is a need to create equitable adaptation practices “by design and thinking intentionally to reach vulnerable sectors of global society,” he said. he declares. “We can’t just hope that the poor won’t be affected.”
Technological development is essential to bring equity and social justice to poor farmers around the world. “Sustainability is not just about the environment and the protection of biodiversity, but the human component is fundamental to sustainability,” Herrero said. “We must confront climate change, leaving no one behind. This is the only truth.”
Herrero is a Fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.
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