Food Production and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Indeed, energy, whether in the form of electricity, heat, transport or industrial processes, account for the majority – 76% – of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Almost two-thirds of this (15% of food emissions) comes from losses in the supply chain which result from poor storage and handling techniques; lack of refrigeration; and spoilage in transport and processing. The other 9% comes from food thrown away by retailers and consumers. This means that food wastage is responsible for around 6% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it’s likely to be slightly higher since the analysis from Poore and Nemecek (2018) does not include food losses on the farm during production and harvesting. To put this in context: it’s around three times the global emissions from aviation. Or, if we were to put it in the context of national emissions, it would be the world’s third largest emitter.46 Only China (21%) and the United States (13%) emitted more
Air travel is used only as a last resort. In what is otherwise a best-case scenario, if global trends in meat and dairy intake continue, our chances of staying below the 2° Celsius threshold will still be extremely slim (Weber CL, 2008).
Governments and countries thus need to use less of fossil fuels and invest more in renewable energy technology options. These include hydropower, geothermal, wind energy and other reliable sources of environmentally friendly renewable energy sources.
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