Cars, not livestock, greater contributors to greenhouse gas emissions

livestockA recently published white paper, Livestock’s Contributions to Climate Change: Facts and Fiction, sheds new light on the role of livestock production in greenhouse gas emissions.

Authored by Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air-quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, the paper identifies energy production and cars, not cows, as the largest U.S. contributors of greenhouse gases that are believed to drive climate change.

Mitloehner’s paper is a response to claims that livestock production is to blame for the lion’s share of U.S. contributions to total GHG emissions. The paper reveals that the U.S. sector contributes 4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 27 percent from the transportation sector and 31 percent from the energy sector.

“The white paper on livestock’s contribution to climate change puts EPA greenhouse gas estimates in perspective,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Some special interest groups would have us believe that cows are responsible for over half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates animal agriculture is responsible for only 4 percent of emissions, but that doesn’t even include the volume of greenhouse gas captured by agricultural crops and grassland.”

Mitloehner does not underestimate the need to control livestock emissions, but he does point out that, in the past six decades, “the U.S. livestock sector has shown considerable progress to continually reduce its environmental footprint.”

In fact, since the 1950s the carbon footprint of the U.S. beef and dairy sector has continued to shrink as production increased or stayed the same.

A progress report comparing beef production from 1977 to 2007 found that industry’s carbon footprint was reduced by 16 percent over the past 30 years.

“The U.S. livestock farms have the lowest carbon footprint per unit of livestock product produced compared to livestock farms in other countries,” Banks said. “U.S. livestock farms employ technology and improved genetics and management that improve the production efficiency; in turn that reduces environmental impacts for air, soil and water.”

It is time, Mitloehner wrote, “to end the rhetoric and separate facts from fiction around the numerous sectors that contribute emissions and to identify solutions for the global food supply.”

The full white paper is available at

Books from AFP

2018-19 UVA Basketball Preview: Just $1.99 on Amazon!

UVA Basketball finished the 2017-18 season ranked at the top of the national polls. Augusta Free Press editor Chris Graham offers his insight and analysis on the 2018-19 'Hoos, breaking down the roster, the legacy of coach Tony Bennett, and how the loss to UMBC could fuel a run through March Madness next spring.

The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever: Just $3.49 on Amazon!

Chris Graham offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the pro wrestling business in his new book, The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, the inside story of the 2011 Night of Legends, a live pay-per-view event featuring stars including WWE Hall of Famers Kevin Nash, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and The Rock 'n Roll Express that was met with almost universally negative reviews.

Mad About U: History of University Hall available on Amazon for just $5.99!

Mad About U: Four Decades of at University Hall is a comprehensive book covering the players, coaches and memories of University Hall at the University of Virginia. Join us as we look back at the memories from more than 40 years in U Hall.

News From Around the Web

Shop Google