At Laaassttt...Meat a benign extravagance

"...daft assumptions underlie the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's famous claim that livestock are responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, a higher proportion than transport. Fairlie shows that it made a number of basic mistakes. It attributes all deforestation that culminates in cattle ranching in the Amazon to cattle: in reality it is mostly driven by land speculation and logging. It muddles up one-off emissions from deforestation with ongoing pollution. It makes similar boobs in its nitrous oxide and methane accounts, confusing gross and net production. (Conversely, the organisation greatly underestimates fossil fuel consumption by intensive farming: its report seems to have been informed by a powerful bias against extensive livestock keeping.)

Overall, Fairlie estimates that farmed animals produce about 10% of the world's emissions: still too much, but a good deal less than transport. He also shows that many vegetable oils have a bigger footprint than animal fats, and reminds us that even vegan farming necessitates the large-scale killing or ecological exclusion of animals: in this case pests. On the other hand, he slaughters the claims made by some livestock farmers about the soil carbon they can lock away."

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    heheh. read this too, the book looks good. difficult premise: for meat to be benign, the developed world has to cut their meat consumption by half, increase pork/reduce beef and start feeding pigs largely on scraps.

    Given the cultural value placed on meat in so many of our societies (US included), it's hard to see the consumption-reduction part being very practical at a mainstream level...
    We should probably encourage an even bigger wave of vegetarians or trendy 'skinny bitch'/chloe coscarelli-style vegans, to help the tip the balance the other way.

    Then everyone can have their cake and eat it too (or only eat it if it's made without butter and with sunflower oil trucked from somewhere semi-local...)

    But who knows, maybe I am wrong and Bittman-style moderation could be preached to the masses. Yes We Can!


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