The UN has admitted a report linking livestock to global warming exaggerated the impact of eating meat on climate change
A 2006 study, Livestock’s Long Shadow, claimed meat production was responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than transport.
Its conclusions were heralded by campaigners urging consumers to eat less meat to save the planet. Among those calling for a reduction in global meat consumption is Sir Paul McCartney.
However, one of the authors of the report has admitted an American scientist has identified a flaw in its comparison with the impact of transport emissions.
Dr Frank Mitloehner, from the University of California at Davis (UCD), said meat and milk production generates less greenhouse gas than most environmentalists claim and that the emissions figures were calculated differently to the transport figures, resulting in an “apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue”.
The meat figure had been reached by adding all greenhouse-gas emissions associated with meat production, including fertiliser production, land clearance, methane emissions and vehicle use on farms, whereas the transport figure had only included the burning of fossil fuels.
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