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STUDY: Research shows global greenhouse gas emissions mostly from animal-based foods, higher than expected

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If greenhouse emissions continue to rise at current rate, a third of the planet’s food population would be at risk by the end of the century. Eating habits must change to avoid global heating.

BEN SCHEFFER: A study released from Nature Food has shown how food production plays a major role in climate change. Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are nearly twice the level of emissions from plant-based foods, and global food production is responsible for a third of all the planet-heating gases emitted from humans.

Livestock is responsible for 57% of food production emissions, compared to 29% for plant-based foods. Non-food products, like cotton and rubber, account for 14% of agricultural emissions… Beef plays a large role because raising livestock requires a large amount of land, and doing so produces a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas…

Farmland management (38%) and land-use change (29%) represented a major share of total emissions. Rice (12%) is the largest plant-based commodity contributing to greenhouse gases, while beef (25%) is the largest animal-based commodity.

The entire system of food production causes 17.3 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. Researchers say this release of gas doubles emissions in the U.S. and represents 35% of global emissions…

Atul Jain, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois and one of the authors of the study, said the emissions are higher than researchers expected and noted that policymakers should consider the results when controlling gas emissions…

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations,… in 2013, livestock was responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions… Just 1 kilogram of beef accounts for 70 kilograms in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 2.5 kilograms of emissions for 1 kilogram of wheat…

Global meat production could increase 13% by the end of the decade for a total production of 366 million tonnes of meat, according to NGOs… If global greenhouse emissions continue to rise at their current rate, a third of the planet’s food population would be put at risk by the end of the century. Scientists say eating and farming habits must change to avoid global heating. SOURCE…

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