Discussions at the climate change summit in Copenhagen are aimed at combating global warming. A meat free Monday campaign is one idea that has come up. Former Beatle and vegetarian Paul McCartney says the production of food from farm to fork accounts for 20 to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and livestock production is responsible for half of these emissions. But University of California-Davis Associate Professor Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an expert on livestock and greenhouse gases, says those numbers are inaccurate.
Mitloehner says, “We’ve just published a paper in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. It’s called Clearing the Air, Livestock’s Contribution to Climate Change, and we have shown that in the United States livestock contributes a total of three percent of the overall carbon volume. Three percent of all greenhouse gases are associated with animal production and another three percent to crop production.”
Mitloehner adds that in undeveloped countries like Ethiopia livestock is causing a higher percentage of greenhouse gases than they would in developed countries like the U.S. and England. The main reason is England and the U.S. are becoming more efficient in raising livestock, where underdeveloped countries haven’t been able to do that yet. “A cow can be twenty to thirty years old over there until she falls over from age. But she is not efficient, and a steer is not efficient either, and a pig is not efficient, and poultry is not efficient. So they should learn from the developed countries how to produce as much meat and animal protein as possible, with as few resources as necessary.”
Mitloehner says global demand for animal protein will double in the next 30 years because of China and India.
Last Updated: 12/15/09 10:04