Potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Swiss animal husbandry

The Swiss agricultural and climate policy- making sector has set itself the target of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by at least one-third by 2050 compared to 1990’s figures. This target can be achieved via technical measures on the production side and/or by reorganising agricultural structures (area percentages, animal populations). Animal husbandry is responsible for approx. 85 % of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Accordingly, the potentials of reduction measures in the animal husbandry sector were investigated, based on the models and methods of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Technical measures on the production side are characterised by fairly low reduction performances and/or by tradeoffs with other enviromental impacts, as well as by technical problems with implementation. The agricultural-sector target is therefore unlikely to be achievable with measures of this sort alone. By contrast, a reorganisation of agricultural structures accompanied by a shift to an increasingly plant-based diet harbours great potential, and presents itself as a promising approach.

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