Ahead of the Herd

September 2022Report cover featuring image of cattle feedlot
To achieve state goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045, California leaders have initiated an ambitious suite of programs to address methane, a climate super-pollutant. Leaders have focused on emissions from livestock, which generate over half of California’s methane – primarily in the state’s dairy sector, the largest in the nation. 
In early 2022, the California Air Resources Board issued a progress report on the state’s dairy and livestock methane programs, identifying major gains over the past decade but a need for significant acceleration to achieve the 2030 target set by Senate Bill 1383. State grant and incentive programs for emissions from manure, primarily focused on dairy digester technology, have achieved substantial and cost-effective reductions, but have also proved controversial among environmental and environmental justice advocates. Emerging strategies to address enteric emissions (i.e., animal burps, which are roughly equal to manure emissions in California) show promise, but are only at the early stages of full evaluation and commercial adoption.
To address these challenges, CLEE and UCLA Law convened state agency, industry, academic, and environmental justice leaders for a discussion of strategies to accelerate livestock methane emission reduction in California while addressing public and environmental health concerns. Policy solutions outlined in our report, Ahead of the Herd, include:
  • Creating an interagency one-stop shop for greenhouse gas, quality, water quality, and other data reporting and technical assistance
  • Updating the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard to better assess life-cycle impacts and additionality of digester projects and support environmental health protections while increasing certainty for operators
  • Accelerating approval of and increasing financial support for new enteric emission reduction strategies
For the full list of recommendations and analysis of state programs for livestock methane, download the report here.
Join us on November 10 for a webinar featuring California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, Ermias Kebreab of UC Davis, and Albert Straus of Straus Family Creamery to discuss the next phase of livestock methane policy in California. RSVP here.

Contact Ethan Elkind or Ted Lamm for more information.