Research shows animal agriculture is worse than oil for driving climate change

Read Time:   |  19th July 2018

New research today shows that the animal agriculture industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies and even some Western nations.

animal agriculture effect on climate change

A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and GRAIN shows that the five largest meat and dairy corporations combined (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America and Fonterra) are already responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell or BP.

In addition, the combined emissions of the top 20 meat and dairy companies surpass the emissions from entire nations, such as Germany, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom.

Zephie Begolo, ProVeg UK’s Head of Campaigns, commented:

“We have known for some time that animal agriculture is one of the leading drivers of climate change, but this new research shows that the situation is even more dire than we thought. But the good news is that people can make a huge impact by simply changing what they eat.”

Greenhouse gas

The research claims that if the growth of the global meat and dairy industry continues as projected, the livestock sector as a whole could consume 80 percent of the planet’s annual greenhouse gas budget by 2050.

The study quantifies emissions from 35 of the world’s largest meat and dairy companies and analyses their climate change mitigation strategies and found that rather than reducing their impact, their growth strategies are set to ramp up their production, putting our planet at risk.

animal agriculture effect on climate change

“Animal agriculture is quite simply a threat to life on this planet,” Ms Begolo said. “It is leading the charge in terms of climate change, is one of the world’s biggest polluters and drains on resources, and it is the source of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. It’s a behemoth that, on the current trajectory, is set to get even bigger.

“Rather than focus on the doom and gloom scenario, we encourage people to take effective action. And the most effective way to have the biggest impact is to change the way we eat. By cutting down on meat and dairy and consuming more plant-based foods, we can save the planet.”

The report’s authors call on governments to take immediate action in order to ensure that we achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord, in which global leaders agreed to work towards keeping global warming below 1.5°C.

The full report is available to view here.

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