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The effects of potential changes in United States beef production on global grazing systems and greenhouse gas emissions
Environmental Research Letters
  • Jerome Dumortier, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Dermot J. Hayes, Iowa State University
  • Miguel Carriquiry, Iowa State University
  • Fengxia Dong, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Xiaodong Du, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Amani E. Elobeid, Iowa State University
  • Jacinto F. Fabiosa, Iowa State University
  • Pamela A. Martin, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Kranti Mulik, Union of Concerned Scientists
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We couple a global agricultural production and trade model with a greenhouse gas model to assess leakage associated with modified beef production in the United States. The effects on emissions from agricultural production (i.e., methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock and crop management) as well as from land-use change, especially grazing system, are assessed. We find that a reduction of US beef production induces net carbon emissions from global land-use change ranging from 37 to 85 kg CO2-equivalent per kg of beef annualized over 20 years. The increase in emissions is caused by an inelastic domestic demand as well as more land-intensive cattle production systems internationally. Changes in livestock production systems such as increasing stocking rate could partially offset emission increases from pasture expansion. In addition, net emissions from enteric fermentation increase because methane emissions per kilogram of beef tend to be higher globally.

This article is from Environmental Research Letters 7 (2012): 024023, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024023.

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IOP Publishing Ltd.
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Jerome Dumortier, Dermot J. Hayes, Miguel Carriquiry, Fengxia Dong, et al.. "The effects of potential changes in United States beef production on global grazing systems and greenhouse gas emissions" Environmental Research Letters Vol. 7 Iss. 2 (2012) p. 024023
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