The farm animals in Europe produce more carbon emissions than cars
According to Greenpeace, when the environmental impact of the farm
animals’ food is taken into account, farm animals are responsible for more
greenhouse gases than all the continent’s cars and vans put together.
More meat and dairy products have been produced in Europe in the past
decade than ever before. Because of this, farming has caused a rise in carbon
emissions. Although governments have been able to recognise that climate
change is a serious issue, they have chosen to address it by making policies
that tackle renewable energy, instead of looking to reduce the impact of
farming on the climate, which would bring about a huge change.
In 2018, farm animals were directly responsible for 502m tonnes of carbon
dioxide a year, mostly through the methane cows produce when they pass
gas. In the same year, cars and vans were responsible for 656m tonnes of
But when the indirect emissions were calculated, which took into account
the deforestation associated with growing food for the animals we eat, the
total annual emissions were 704m tonnes of carbon dioxide.
This report, which was titled ‘Farming for Failure’, was published by
Greenpeace on Tuesday the 22nd of September.
The production of meat and dairy products went up by 9.5% between 2017
and 2018. If production continues to rise, the EU will not be able to meet its
promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement.
A spokesperson for the UK’s National Farmers’ Union said farmers were
taking action, with a target of being carbon neutral by 2040. Farming in the
UK is directly responsible for 10% of UK greenhouse gas emissions,
according to the NFU, without taking into account indirect emissions
related to feed.
“If we are to achieve [the carbon neutrality goal], we must reduce all our
greenhouse gas emissions,” said the spokesperson. “A focus on improving
productivity is key here, alongside maintaining and improving our storage
of carbon in grassland and producing more renewable energy.”
Greenpeace is calling for an end to public subsidies for industrial-scale
animal farming under the EU’s common agricultural policy, as part of the
bloc’s plans for a green deal. Such a policy is unlikely to win much favour
from the powerful farming lobbies in most large European countries, but
policymakers will be under pressure to show how they can meet the EU’s
climate targets without large-scale reforms to farming.
1. Carbon emissions
2. Greenhouse gases
3. Climate change
4. Carbon dioxide
1. Why do you think governments are not putting restrictions on the
2. Do you think the amount of meat and cheese we consume should be
3. What do you think should be done to reduce greenhouse gas