Editor's Note: John Maday is managing editor of Drover's, a sister publication to Pork magazine.
Vegan activists and others readily cite greenhouse gasses as a reason to drop meat from diets, but a report presented to the American Chemical Society poo-poos the notion.
Environmental scientist Frank Mitloehner, from the University of California at Davis, authored the report and presented his findings to the Society on Monday. Mitloehner says lower consumption of meat and dairy products would not have any major effect on global warming and there are much more effective ways to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Much of the misinformation on the contribution of livestock production to climate change date to 2006 United Nations report, "Livestock's Long Shadow," which Mitloehner cites as scientifically inaccurate. The U.N. report concluded that livestock contribute more to climate change than even the transport sector.
Mitloehner says that report’s authors, in calculating livestock’s contribution, totaled the entire “lifecycle” of gasses from the manufacture of inputs such as fertilizers, feed and machinery through processing and packaging. In their calculations for the transport sector, they included only tailpipe emissions.
His report is covered widely in the popular press this week, including this article in the Washington Times.