EU's farm animals 'produce more emissions than cars and vans combined'

Fiona Harvey

Cows, pigs and other farm livestock in Europe are producing more greenhouse gases every year than all of the bloc’s cars and vans put together, when the impact of their feed is taken into account, according to a new analysis by Greenpeace.

The increase in meat and dairy production in Europe over the past decade has made farming a much greater source of emissions, but while governments have targeted renewable energy and transport in their climate policies, initiatives to reduce the impact of food and farming on the climate have lagged behind.

In 2018, the latest year for which accurate data is available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock on EU farms (including the UK) were responsible for the equivalent of about 502m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, mostly through the methane they release. That compares with 656m of carbon dioxide from Europe’s cars and vans in the same year.

But when the indirect greenhouse gas emissions are calculated, using established methods to estimate the deforestation and land use changes associated with growing animal feed, then the total annual emissions are equivalent to 704m tonnes of carbon dioxide. The calculations are set out in a new Greenpeace report entitled Farming for Failure, published on Tuesday.

The article's full-text is available here.

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