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Time for a One-Eighty on Cows and Climate – Part 3

Friday, March 15, 2024 8:28 AM

Time for a One-Eighty on Cows and Climate – Part 3
APRIL 29, 2014
Photo by Matthias Heyde on 

The Carbon Myth

In 2009, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) paper entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” contained the statement that livestock accounted for 17 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) contributions to the atmosphere, greater than the contributions from transportation. This claim was soundly refuted by qualified experts within hours of publication. But too late. The claim appears only in the introduction to the publication and is not supported within the text of the paper itself. It was seized upon by reporters and trumpeted around the world. It has become an unchallenged meme quoted without question. 

This exaggerated fossil fuel use by livestock has no validity even within the agribusiness model of livestock management. For reasons best known to himself, the author of the introduction bundled everything from the manufacture of the tractors that produced the animal feed, the milling and transportation of the feed, and everything else related to livestock production into their fossil fuel account. In the case of transportation, he counted only direct use of fossil fuel when driving. It bears repeating, the natural diet of cattle is grass.

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