Grass-fed cattle not a climate solution

Whether grass-fed beef is good or bad for the climate is the focus of a new report from the Food Climate Research Network, entitled “Grazed and Confused?”. The report finds that while grazing of grass-fed animals can boost the sequestration of carbon in some locally specific circumstances, that effect is time-limited, reversible, and at the global level, substantially outweighed by the greenhouse gas emissions they generate.

The report is a response to claims made by different stakeholders in the debate about grass-fed beef, the greenhouse gases the animals emit, and the possibility that, through their grazing actions, they can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The lead author Tara Garnett concludes: “Grass-fed livestock are not a climate solution. Grazing livestock are net contributors to the climate problem, as are all livestock. Rising animal production and consumption, whatever the farming system and animal type, is causing damaging greenhouse gas release and contributing to changes in land use. Ultimately, if high consuming individuals and countries want to do something positive for the climate, maintaining their current consumption levels but simply switching to grass-fed beef is not a solution. Eating less meat, of all types, is.”

Source: Food Climate Research Network, 3 October 2017, “Grazed and Confused?”.



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