Are pastoralists and their livestock to blame for climate change?

As humanity grapples with understanding the causes and consequences of the mounting climate crisis, there can be a tendency to oversimplify issues in a bid to identify solutions. Such oversimplifications have stemmed from a broad-brush analysis which identifies all livestock production and animal products as key drivers of climate change.

This What to Read digest seeks to show a deeper understanding of pastoral livestock systems and how, given context-specific conditions, they can actually respond to climate change threats while lowering the risk of conflicts over natural resources.

The FAO Pastoralist Knowledge hub (link is external) reveals that there are several hundred million pastoralists worldwide. The exact numbers vary according to how pastoral systems are defined. Multiple sources, including research commissioned by the World Bank and the Encyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability (link is external) indicate that in sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 120 million people obtain their livelihood from livestock production, and up to 41 million depend solely on livestock production, while up to 94 million depend partially but significantly on this production system. [Landportal]