Seminar Exploring Links Between Food Production And Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A four-year study of the impact of food on climate change by the Food Climate Research Network found that measured by production, the UK food sector produces greenhouse gases equivalent to 33 million tonnes of carbon. Meat and dairy sectors together accounted for just over half of those emissions; potatoes, fruit and vegetables for 15%; drinks and other products with sugar for another 15%; and bread, pastry and flour for 13%.

The report also revealed which parts of the food chain were the most polluting. Although packaging has had a lot of media and political attention, it only ranked fifth in importance behind agriculture, especially the methane produced by livestock burping, manufacturing, transport, and cooking and refrigeration at home.

Tara Garnett, co-ordinator of the Food Climate Research Network based at the University of Surrey, will be discussing the topics at her seminar, ‘Life, the universe and livestock: can we make it work? The relationship between livestock and sustainability, and an exploration of some possible futures’ which will provide an overview of the technological options for tackling food related greenhouse gas emissions plus consumer behaviour towards food purchasing and how this might be influenced in more sustainable directions.

Ms Garnett explains, “With binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions and with the food chain accounting for around 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is important to explore how food-related emissions might be reduced.”

Published on 02 February 2010 in Climate, water and energy