Livestock and Climate Change

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Livestock generate more than half of the world's greenhouse gases!

In 2006 the UNO's agricultural organization (FAO) published figures showing that worldwide meat production is responsible for 18% of human-caused greenhouse gases.

Two environmental scientists from the World Bank have now recalculated and corrected these figures for the World-Watch Institute: the FAO, who advocate increased meat consumption worldwide, had "overlooked" some issues, underestimated others and wrongly allocated certain emissions.

After correction of these errors and adjustment to the current figures for animal production (which continued to increase worldwide between 2006 and 2009), the scientists ascertained that the production of livestock and their by-products contribute at least (!) 51% of all greenhouse gases.

Instead of the 7,516 million tons of CO2 equivalents calculated by the FAO, livestock and their by-products generate 32,564 million tons of CO2 equivalents annually.

This means: Even if everyone on the planet swapped to alternative energy sources, all light bulbs were replaced by energy-saving bulbs and cars and aeroplanes were completely banned, the effects on the climate would still be smaller than if people stopped eating meat and switched to a plant-based diet.

The full article from the current World Watch magazine is available online: Livestock and Climate Change.

Press-release of WorldWatch: Livestock Emissions: Still Grossly Underestimated?

Related Topics

WorldWatch Nov/Dec 2009



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