by Catherine C. Ivanovich, Tianyi Sun, Doria R. Gordon, and Ilissa B. Ocko
“We found that the consumption of dairy and meat is responsible for more than half of the warming by the year 2030 and through to the year 2100.” ~ Future Warming report authors
Although often overlooked, agriculture—especially intensive animal farming—is a major contributor to climate change.
Research published in Nature Climate Crisis asserts that if global food consumption patterns continue as they are, they could add up to 1 degree Celsius warming (beyond present-day warming levels) by 2100.
As the authors note, “…given the relatively high emissions intensity of animal products compared with other food sources, our projected warming is likely an underestimate.”
The report’s authors used strategies such as modeling, a detailed inventory, and emissions projections to assess the climate impacts that can be attributed to various food groups and individual gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) to get a clearer picture of the impacts of agriculture on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The authors analyzed data related to 94 food items and determined that three-quarters of warming from agriculture is from sources that are high in methane, which include ruminant animals, dairy, and rice. They assert that methane is responsible for almost 60 percent of the climate change warming associated with food consumption.
The authors emphasize that simultaneous implementation of four key strategies would have the highest impact in reducing the increase in climate-damaging emissions, and that “…current dietary production and consumption patterns are incompatible with sustaining a growing population while pursuing a secure climate future.”
Editor’s Note: PZI applauds the authors of this article for their work and agrees that the facts are strong; however, the solutions offered are insufficient to avert existential threats to human and nonhuman beings. PZI advances a Just One Health approach, which centers prevention, justice, and the interdependent rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet.
Ivanovich, Catherine C., Tianyi Sun, Doria R. Gordon, and Ilissa B. Ocko. “Future Warming from Global Food Consumption.” Nature Climate Change (6 March 2023): 1-6.