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The livestock industry and climate – EU makes bad worseby Jens Holm & Toivo Jokkala
Stockholm, May 2007
Climate change is developing into the greatest threat ever to our world’s survival. There is a relatively high awareness of and preparedness for some of the worst emissions, such as heavy industry and the transportation sector. But one of the most damaging contributors to climate change is, remarkably enough, conspicuous in its absence from the debate: the food industry.
What we eat accounts for approximately a third of the average Swedish family’s impact on climate. The figures for the rest of Europe are about the same. Certain kinds of food cause many times more damage than others: meat, for example. Last autumn, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented Livestock’s Long Shadow, a 400 page report on livestock raising and climate change. The meat industry and livestock raising contribute 18% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases. That is in fact a greater impact than that of all of the world’s land transportation, reported FAO.
This report investigates the impact of the continually increasing consumption of meat on climate change, and the roll the EU plays in it. We also divulge how the Swedish government, on its home turf, gives the im¬pression of working to abolish the hated export refund for meat products, while in Brussels giving its support for increases in the same.
Without claiming to have all the answers, we nevertheless offer our views in a discussion that, along with the greenhouse effect, is one of the most important questions for our future: What are we going to do with the world’s grain and what is the optimal way to use the world’s farmland? Climate change is expected to bring about an enormous demand for wheat, corn, and other grains for biofuel production. And that brings us right back to meat production.
Over a third of all grain harvested becomes fodder. Is that rational? Why not produce less meat and raise fewer animals on food crops.....
Other EVANA-articles about this topic:
Research reveals the true cost of a burger ()
Increased Support for the “Livestock and Climate Change” hypothesis (en)
Report: The Livestock Industry and Climate (en)
Climate Change and Meat Consumption (en)
Statement of the Intergovernmental Group on Meat and Dairy Products: Livestock sector can help fight climate change (en)
MEP Awards 2008: Jens Holm (GUE/NGL) shortlisted under the environment category (en)
EU: 'The livestock sector - a major culprit in destruction of the environment' (en)
Sweden: First vegan MEP enters office next fall (en)