Livestock accounts for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions, says new report

by Antonio Pasolini on October 22, 2009

Worldwatch Magazine

Worldwatch Magazine

In 2006 a report compiled by the UN’s Food and Agriculture arm found that livestock’s greenhouse emissions accounts for 18% of the total, while the global transportation network, a much more targeted culprit, accounts for a lot less at 13%. The report is called Livestock’s Long Shadow and it has been widely quoted ever since by environmentalists and vegetarians as strong evidence that a plant-based diet is kinder to the planet (not to mention the animals, of course).

Now evidence has emerged that the figure was “grossly underestimated” and a new report by the Worldwatch Institute has remade the calculations. The report, called Livestock and Climate Change, concludes that livestock’s contribution to greenhouse emissions actually accounts for 51% of the total. That’s nearly three times the previously estimated figure.

“Recent analysis by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang finds that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions”, the organization says on its website.

The report can be downloaded for free here. Treehugger has published a breakdown of the factors that explain why livestock is such a major polluter. The popular green blog concludes: “The overall message can really be boiled down to this: One of the cheapest and most effective ways of mitigating climate change is eating far less meat and dairy or (better yet) eating none and adopting a full vegetarian or vegan diet. It’s going to take a cultural shift to do this, to be sure, but the effect is huge.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Related Posts:

Previous post:

Next post: