Spurned by our brief discussion on the impact cows and methane have on the climate, I wanted to learn a little bit more about their impact. I came across an article on “time for change” that elaborates on the issue. The big talking point of the article for me was the fact that “agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide.” This is a big number, and I never realized the scale of the impact livestock had on greenhouse emissions. This is a tricky subject, as humans are unlikely to decrease their meat consumption, and cows are used for other products such as milk as well. As the population of the world goes up, this number is likely to increase, as a larger population means there is a larger demand livestock.
The article explains that “global meat production is expected to double from 229 million tons to 580 million tons in 2050.” Furthermore “a kg of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount emitted by a European car for 250 km.” They put forth a table that breaks down where the CO2 comes from. The message of the article: humans need to consume less meat and dairy in order to lower these numbers and the impact of climate change.