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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Are cows to blame for global warming?


With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tones in 1999/2001 to 465 million tones in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tones.
A Japanese study showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a global warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2). It also releases fertilizing compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 mega joules of energy. In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometers, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days (New Scientist magazine, 18 July 2007) The following tables indicates the CO2 production in kg CO2 equivalents per kg of meat depending on the animal:
1 kg of meat from produces kg CO2e
beef 34.6
lamb 17.4
pork 6.35
chicken 4.57

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