Cooking up a storm: an Analysis of Farm Emissions

UK - A new report, examining the food system’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has concluded that consumers should vastly cut the content of milk and beef from their diets.
calendar icon 1 October 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Taking a life cycle perspective, the report looks at how farming emissions arise, both by life cycle stage (from plough to plate to bin) and by food type.

It then explores the flip side of the coin: the global impact of a changing climate on how we grow, distribute, produce and consume food. It follows this with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of and challenges for the life cycle analysis methodology upon which the report has drawn.

The report also explores the mitigation options, looking both at what food GHG reductions might be achieved through the use of cleaner technologies and better management and at what changes in behaviour are needed.

Arguing that both are essential, the researchers approximately calculate what level of food emission reductions could be achieved through a combination of technological and behavioural change. This leads to a discussion of the relationship between the goals of food GHG reduction and improved nutritional wellbeing. The report asks: "how far these two goals are compatible both at the UK and global levels."

The penultimate section examines the policy context, highlighting what actions are being taken at the UK, EU and international levels to tackle food-GHG emissions. The report adds that one of the key issues of change is that the UK Government should commit to achieving a 70% or more absolute reduction in food-related GHG emissions by 2050 and should set out how it intends to achieve these cuts.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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