Methane emissions from 15 of the biggest meat and dairy companies also exceed emissions of some of the biggest countries in the world including Russia, Canada and Australia
The world’s largest animal agriculture corporations are responsible for significant methane emissions, according to a new report.
The data, collated by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Changing Markets Foundation, said emissions from five meat and 10 dairy corporations surpass 80 per cent of the European Union’s entire methane footprint.
Furthermore, it said the emissions from these 15 companies exceed those of some of the biggest countries in the world including Russia, Canada and Australia.
In fact, these emissions from just 15 of the globe’s meat and dairy companies represent 11.1 per cent of the world’s total livestock-related methane.
These numbers led the report to call for ‘urgent and ambitious legislation to address the significant climate impacts of global meat and dairy corporations’.
According to the report, the Global Methane Assessment ‘estimates that global emissions must be reduced by 40–45 per cent by 2030 to achieve least-cost pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C’.
But it notes that while more than 100 governments signed up to the Global Methane Pledge launched at COP26, this pledge ‘falls short of what the science says is needed’.
“[The pledge] commits its signatories to only 30 per cent reductions by 2030 from a 2020 baseline as opposed to the 40–45 per cent needed to prevent temperature overshoot,” the report says.
It notes that ‘regulating the livestock industry’s methane footprint would critically help bridge that gap’, but that most of the 125 countries who’ve signed the pledge not have outlined plans to deal with livestock methane specifically.
End factory farming
Speaking about the findings, Shefali Sharma, director of the IATP’s European office, told the Guardian that although reducing meat and dairy intake would be beneficial, the optimum way to slash these emissions would be to end factory farming.
She added: “We’re not saying people need to go vegan or vegetarian. We’re just saying we need to do it better.”
However, as the report noted, governments ‘cannot expect these powerful corporations to voluntarily change their model of mass industrial animal agriculture’.
Instead, it recommended: “Governments must lead in facilitating such a transition: Regulating the livestock industry’s numerous environ- mental and social impacts and ensuring that these companies do not transfer all the risks of the transition onto farmers.
“Farmers within and outside these corporate supply chains have a critical role to play in a sequenced, deliberate and just transition out of mass industrial livestock production towards livestock-raising systems that are healthy for the planet and people.”
Moving towards plant-based diets is an easy way to reduce your footprint. Find out how switching to a vegan diet can help fight climate change
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