carbon footprint

The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated

The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated

Scientists found in their study that the global food system was responsible for 16 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, or a third of all global emissions that year. This is a sharp contrast to the more narrowly defined agriculture sector of the IPCC’s categories for greenhouse gas inventories, which accounted for 5.3 billion metric tons in 2018, or just a tenth of the total.

“The national greenhouse gas inventories, [under] the IPCC guidelines, are breaking up the components of the food emissions, separating them, and burying them in [other] categories.”

The new analysis accounts for those emissions that the IPCC allocates to non-agricultural categories, including carbon dioxide from pre-production, like manufacturing fertilizer and farm equipment, and post-production emissions, such as food waste disposal, refrigeration, packaging, and transportation. It also includes as food-related emissions the conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural land, which at nearly 3 billion metrics tons per year are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in their analysis.

Source: CivilEats

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