by Marion Nestle
Dec 5 2008

Animal agriculture and climate change

The effects of agriculture on climate change are not something I’ve written much about, mainly because I don’t know how to evaluate the assumptions involved in assessing the effects.   Different assumptions lead to different conclusions.  But if we are going to develop agricultural systems that are truly sustainable, they will have to keep greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum.  Yesterday’s New York Times lays out the issues pretty well.  If its analysis is correct, we all need to be eating a lot less meat.  In any case, this seems like a good place to start the conversation.

  • Absolutely. For anyone wanting more detailed information, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN published a report in 2007 called Livestock’s Long Shadow.

    Many of the pieces related to what people should be eating for their health fit very nicely with the health of the planet. I love when that happens.

  • Correction: While the download page has the copyright listed as 2007, the actual document states it’s 2006.

  • And I triple love when what’s good for the planet is good for your body AND good for your wallet. A plant-based diet is definitely a cheaper way to eat. What a trifecta!

  • Daniel Ithaca,NY

    I quadruple love what is good for the planet, good for your body, good for your wallet and reduces the amount of suffering (besides reduced human health suffering) of animals that is routine in the factory farm setting of US agri-business such as Egg farms selecting out male chicks who have apparently no value to them so many just throw live chicks into plastic bags/the dumpster and on Dairy farms many of the male calves are sold as veal. It’s ok to be cruel to animals, as long as they are not dogs, cats, or horses pretty much. At least that is the current way the legislation is.