True or false, agriculture emits more greenhouse gases than transportation?
I have often heard this argument from those who want to not only eliminate meat from their diet but meat agriculture from the planet. So, I decided to do a little research.
First, where is this statement coming from? In 2006, the United Nations released a news report - "According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport." Wow! That sounds pretty serious! It doesn't seem possible! That's because it's not true. The comparison is like comparing apples to oranges.
Pierre Gerber, who's name is on the U.N. report, admitted, "we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn't do the same thing with transport" What this means is that when they looked at meat emissions, they did a full life-cycle analysis which would include fertilizer production, land clearance, methane emissions and vehicle use on the farm. Keep in mind, this is also world wide, not just in the U.S. For transportation, they only accounted for the burning of fossil fuels, no auto manufacturing, no road construction. Not exactly a fair comparison.
Other items to note:
The 9% attributed to agriculture in the EPA report is all of agriculture, including crop and livestock production for food.
Livestock give us a lot more than just meat. There are numerous other by-products, including organic fertilizer (manure) for all the yummy fruits and veggies we like to eat.
There you have it, a very simplified version. For more information check out these articles.
Growing up, I told my farmer friends, I would never marry a dairy farmer. Little did I know that God had other plans for me!