Challenge to Claim that Beef | Dairy Contribute 18% of Global Warming

GreenTracker| We’re not in a position to document the claim of air quality expert Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., who made a presentation at the 239th National Meeting of the Amerian Chemical Society in San Franisco, arguing that the notion that curbing daily and meat products consumption won’t have a major impact on global warming.

Mitloehner says confusion over meat and milk’s role in climate change stems from a small section printed in the executive summary of a 2006 United Nations report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” It read: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.”

Mitloehner says there is no doubt that livestock are major producers of methane, one of the greenhouse gases. But he faults the methodology of “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” contending that numbers for the livestock sector were calculated differently from transportation. In the report, the livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed; animals’ digestive emissions; and processing meat and milk into foods. But the transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving and not all other transport lifecycle related factors.

“This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue,” he said.

It would be helpful to understand what Mitloehner believes is an apple to apple comparison of transportation and lifestock. I assume he means that the study doesn’t include the carbon footprint used to make the vehicles that transport products. We will investigate. Read on in Science Daily Anne