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Have you ever wondered whether cattle rearing or car driving contributes more to the increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere, thus exacerbating global warming? Look no further than today’s Viz of the Day, which provides insights on this issue courtesy of a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The data clearly indicates that the modern livestock sector contributes more significantly to global warming than the whole of the transport sector. Among livestock species, cattle are responsible for nearly 65 percent of GHG emissions, with a single cow, steer, or bull producing more carbon dioxide (CO2) per year than a Ferrari*.
Ensuring future food security and human livelihood while also protecting the Earth requires a transition towards a more sustainable livestock sector. Reducing GHG emissions supports this transition, and yet current food consumption and marketing trends directly work against efforts to decrease the demand for cattle and other livestock rearing.
*On average, every kilogram (kg) of cattle meat generates 12 kgs of CO2 per year. The weight of average adult cow is about 700 kgs. So, each cow produces 12*700 or around 8,400 kgs of CO2 per year. At the same time, the average Ferrari emits 311 grams of CO2 per kilometre (km). Supposing that this Ferrari travels 20,000 km per year, the annual CO2 emissions from it would be 20,000*0.3 or around 6,000 kgs.
**Not including emissions from "Other poultry", accounting for 72 million tonnes CO2-eq and emissions allocated to fiber production (wool), draught power and manure use fuel, which accounts for 400 million tonnes CO2-eq. Including these components increases total GHG emissions from livestock to 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2-eq.