Short Note    Peer-Reviewed

The GHG Protein Ratio: An Indicator Whose Time Has Come

James A. Dyer 1,†,* and Raymond L. Desjardins 2,†
1
Ag-environmental Consultant, 122 Hexam Street, Cambridge, ON N3H 3Z9, Canada
2
Science and Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
For correspondence.
Academic Editor: Carlos Parra-López
Highlights Sustain. 2022, 1(2), 105–112.
Received: 16 February 2022    Accepted: 30 May 2022    Published: 2 June 2022
Abstract
The Carbon Footprint (CF) of agriculture must be substantially reduced to help avoid catastrophic climate change. This paper examines the ratio of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to protein as an indicator of the CF of the major Canadian livestock commodities using previously published results. The GHG emissions for these commodities were estimated with a spreadsheet model that accounted for all three GHGs, the complete life cycles of each livestock type and the livestock interactions with the agricultural land base. The indicator results reviewed here included the responses to livestock types and diets, livestock versus plant protein sources, spatial scales and geographic differences. The sensitivity of the results shown suggest that GHG-protein ratios could provide valuable guidance for producers and consumers to reduce their GHG emissions. For example, diverting feed grains from beef feedlots to hog production would substantially reduce the CF of red meat, although still not as low as the CF of poultry products. The complete proteins derived from pulses have much lower CF values than all livestock products.
Keywords
Copyright © 2022 Dyer and Desjardins. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use and distribution provided that the original work is properly cited.
Funding
This research was partly funded by the Sustainability Metric project of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Cite this Article
ACS Style
Dyer, J.A.; Desjardins, R.L. The GHG Protein Ratio: An Indicator Whose Time Has Come. Highlights Sustain. 2022, 1, 105–112. https://doi.org/10.54175/hsustain1020008
APA Style
Dyer, J. A., & Desjardins, R. L. (2022). The GHG Protein Ratio: An Indicator Whose Time Has Come. Highlights of Sustainability, 1(2), 105–112. https://doi.org/10.54175/hsustain1020008
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