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Atmosphere 2017, 8(5), 69;

Enteric Methane Emissions Estimate for Livestock in South Africa for 1990–2014

ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, Private Bag X79, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Risks and Vulnerability Assessment Centre, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert W. Talbot
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Methane)
PDF [2461 KB, uploaded 16 May 2017]


Methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation is one of the main anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in South Africa. Livestock population data from 1990 to 2014 and emission factors were utilized in estimating CH4 emissions as per the 2006 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) guidelines. CH4 emissions originating from country-specific emission factors were compared with those calculated using IPCC default emission factors. Trends in emissions were then determined using the Man-Kendall trend test at the 5% significance level. The results showed annual total enteric CH4 emissions exceeding 1171.56 Gg (in 1995) with an average (1990 to 2014) of 1227.96 Gg. Non-dairy cattle are the highest emitters with an average of 873.07 Gg (71.10%) while sheep are the second highest with 227.61 Gg (18.54%). Other contributors are dairy cattle, goats, horses, pigs and donkeys with an average (percentage contribution) of 85.94 Gg (7.00%), 32.06 Gg (2.61%), 4.86 Gg (0.40%), 2.77 Gg (0.23%) and 1.65 Gg (0.13%), respectively. The trend analysis revealed positive trends for all the livestock categories, except sheep and goats which showed negative trends, consequently balancing out. The results obtained for the year 2014 were 37% higher than the enteric CH4 emissions in 1990, 1994 and 2000 inventories and the emissions estimated entirely from IPCC default emission factors. This demonstrates the need for the development of Tier 2 emission factors for key category sectors such as cattle and sheep in South Africa. To fully adhere to the principles of GHG inventory accounting, there has to be total livestock inclusivity and major improvements in activity data collection. View Full-Text
Keywords: activity data; emission factors; IPCC guidelines; GHG inventory activity data; emission factors; IPCC guidelines; GHG inventory

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Moeletsi, M.E.; Tongwane, M.I.; Tsubo, M. Enteric Methane Emissions Estimate for Livestock in South Africa for 1990–2014. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 69.

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