Skip to content

Meat, Dairy Industry Surpass Big Oil As World’s Biggest Polluters

July 31, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t bobn

 

From Zero Hedge:

 

image

Within the next few decades, Big Meat and Big Dairy could surpass Big Oil as the world’s biggest climate polluters, a new study by non-profit GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) showed on Wednesday.

The world’s biggest animal protein producers could soon surpass ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP as the largest contributors to climate pollution, according to the study.

IATP and GRAIN jointly published the study that quantifies emissions from 35 of the world’s largest meat and dairy companies and reviews their plans to fight climate change.

The report found out that the five largest meat and dairy corporations combined – JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, and Fonterra – are already responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP. According to one figure in the report, the combined emissions of the top five companies are on par with those of Exxon and significantly higher than those of Shell or BP.

Moreover, the report also found that the combined emissions of the top 20 meat and dairy companies surpass the emissions from entire nations, such as Germany, Canada, Australia, the UK, or France.

Most of the top 35 meat and dairy companies either fail to report emissions entirely, or exclude their supply chain emissions, which account for 80-90 percent of emissions, according to the study, which pointed out that only four of the 35 biggest companies provide comprehensive emissions estimates.

In addition, less than half of the top 35 meat and dairy companies in the world have announced any type of targets to reduce emissions.

“If the growth of the global meat and dairy industry continues as projected, the livestock sector as a whole could consume 80 percent of the planet’s annual greenhouse gas budget by 2050,” the report said.

“The climate community’s attention has been focused on fossil fuel companies. It is time we broadened our focus to include the meat and dairy majors. In the next ten years, we must work together to build a just transition of our agricultural economy that helps restore rural communities and our soil, and sustain our planet,” IATP said.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-19/meat-dairy-industry-surpass-big-oil-worlds-biggest-polluters

According to their website:

 GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5976-emissions-impossible-how-big-meat-and-dairy-are-heating-up-the-planet

 

But their real objective is to stop us eating meat, as their press release reveals:

   There are several possible pathways to bringing emissions from meat and dairy production down to levels that are compatible with global efforts to prevent dangerous climate change. All of them, however, require significant reductions in meat and dairy production and consumption in the overproducing and overconsuming countries. Reduction in both production and consumption in the United States, the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil alone would result in dramatic cuts in global emissions. Other countries must also take care to keep consumption and production at moderate per capita levels, in line with their nutritional requirements and the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

 https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5976-emissions-impossible-how-big-meat-and-dairy-are-heating-up-the-planet

 

Being a bunch of anti capitalist eco-loons, GRAIN likes to blame it all on these big food companies:

 

The climate footprint of the meat and dairy giants

Unlike their counterparts in the energy sector, the big meat and dairy companies have thus far escaped public scrutiny of their contribution to climate change. The lack of public information on the magnitude of their GHG footprints is one contributing factor. GRAIN and IATP have reviewed the efforts undertaken by the world’s 35 largest[11] beef, pork, poultry and dairy companies to quantify their GHG emissions. We found the publicly available data on their emissions to be incomplete, not comparable between companies or years and, in the majority of cases, simply absent (Figure 9A). Only four companies – NH Foods (Japan), Nestlé (Switzerland), FrieslandCampina (the Netherlands) and Danone (France) – provide complete, credible emissions estimates. However, under the current circumstances, even these four are not obligated to reduce these emissions. Most of the companies that do report emissions have seriously underreported them and have not included most of their supply chain emissions in their calculations.

These supply chain emissions, covering everything from the production of animal feed crops to the methane released by cattle, generally account for 80–90% of meat and dairy emissions.[12] However, large meat and dairy companies have a particular responsibility to include these upstream emissions in their accounting. As vertically integrated businesses, they exercise significant and often direct control over their supply chains, including feedlot and processing operations, contract farming systems and feed production units. It is thus critical that big meat and dairy companies be held directly accountable for the upstream supply chain emissions, and denied the ability to shift blame (and costs) onto their farmer suppliers or the public.

But their own words disproves their logic:

 These supply chain emissions, covering everything from the production of animal feed crops to the methane released by cattle, generally account for 80–90% of meat and dairy emissions.

Big Food may be guilty of all sorts of things, but the vast majority of emissions come from producing the meat and dairy that the big companies go on to process.

Either we eat that food or we don’t. GRAIN seems to prefer the latter.

GRAIN’s callous disregard for the interests of ordinary people is made clear by their attitude to developing countries:

Another key country is China, now the number one emitter of GHGs from meat and dairy production after two decades of exponential growth in per capita consumption, coupled with imports from the surplus protein countries and concentration of domestic production in the hands of a few large corporations……

Reduction in both production and consumption in the United States, the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil alone would result in dramatic cuts in global emissions. Other countries must also take care to keep consumption and production at moderate per capita levels, in line with their nutritional requirements and the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

How dare Chinese people want to improve their standard of living, and no longer have to starve as they used to.

As for the rest of those poor devils in the Third World, reducing emissions is apparently more important than a decent diet. (That phrase about “nutritional requirements” has an Orwellian touch about it).

 

What their report does show though is the utter futility of thinking we can eliminate emissions of CO2 and other GHGs. No matter how many trillions we spend on wind mills and solar panels, we will all still need food and a thousand other things, which all need energy. And as populations increase, and people become wealthier, demand for energy will keep on increasing.

39 Comments
  1. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 31, 2018 8:51 am

    Am I misunderstanding this or is it actually stupid?

    They add together the emissions from the farmers, but don’t add together the emissions from the oil companies and then compare them?

    What exactly is the point of all this nonsense?

    • Ian Magness permalink
      July 31, 2018 9:25 am

      The point that occurs to me Phoenix, and a point that I have made many times before, is that all these so-called country or global anthropogenic “carbon emission” statistics are just make-believe. We simply do not have anywhere near enough knowledge of the global carbon cycle, the myriad feedback mechanisms and how the totality of human activity is changing it. The fantasists can’t even come up with sensible figures for the net impact of agriculture, and as for industrial “carbon emissions” from the likes of China or India, well, can you really trust them, say to within 50%? I doubt it very much.
      Short of closing down civilisation as we know it, inclusive of all industries including farming, it is thus futile, as well as ludicrous to think we can sensibly set “carbon emission” targets and change things to an appreciable degree. It’s just as well anthropogenic global warming isn’t happening – and isn’t going to happen – to any significant and damaging amount because, if it did, our pathetic but ruinously expensive mitigation strategies and taxes, as based on fairy-tale statistics wouldn’t make a great deal of difference. We’d all fry anyway.

      • HotScot permalink
        July 31, 2018 1:25 pm

        Ian Magness

        Really well put.

  2. July 31, 2018 9:04 am

    BREAKING NEWS: ‘Scientists’ have just discovered through the use of special chemicals found in certain mushrooms and inspired guesswork what killed off the dinosaurs. It seems that the move to gigantism amongst things ending saurus was their downfall, as the scale of the increased farting of the enormous beasts led to Global Warming and they all died (except those that didn’t). The End.

  3. Bitter@twisted permalink
    July 31, 2018 9:12 am

    I read this latest scientific “finding” and thought “so what?”.

    • GEORGE LET permalink
      July 31, 2018 8:07 pm

      Bitter@twisted, I agree. There is no correlation (let alone causation) of any of these “exhaust” gases with actual unmanipulated temperature data. How about when millions of buffalo roamed the plains? Those Native Americans endured some pretty harsh winters.

  4. Derek Buxtonother scare permalink
    July 31, 2018 9:12 am

    Another scare story for the BBC to plug. Regrettably I cannot aforred much meat although I do like it.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      July 31, 2018 9:18 am

      sorry for the above, my computer is going daft. The “another scare” on my name migrated from the post. These computers are dodgy and people want to use cars driven by them!!!!!

      • Sheri permalink
        July 31, 2018 1:11 pm

        Terrifying thought, isn’t it? Computers controlling your car.

      • July 31, 2018 1:32 pm

        Yes. And when they forget your password .%@####£**!,!🤮

      • Dave Ward permalink
        July 31, 2018 3:03 pm

        “And people want to use cars driven by them!!!!!”

        Not everybody does…

  5. Immune to propaganda permalink
    July 31, 2018 9:38 am

    Interestingly fairly recent studies on Ordovician ice age ice core samples revealed CO2 levels fourteen times higher than today’s at 4400ppm.
    Apparently, Solar output was low during this long ice age which would confirm what most people understand about the Sun’s activity being the number one driver of climate change – just like it has four 4.5 billion years.

    More recently, another nail in the coffin of CO2 warming causation is the fact that world temperatures fell between 1938 and the 1970’s when CO2 levels went up due to second world war mass manufacturing and the subsequent post rebuilding.

    CO2 emissions are truly the smoking gun pushing the hoax. The big question is how we defeat this expensive -for us- the taxpayers hoax. How do we overturn thirty years of propaganda?

  6. July 31, 2018 10:01 am

    By this study’s measure the warming oceans must be a candidate for world’s biggest ‘polluter’.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20413-warmer-oceans-release-co2-faster-than-thought/

  7. Tony Budd permalink
    July 31, 2018 10:19 am

    Bearing in mind that dairy farming and the forest clearance that was necessary for it – both net contributors to CO2 – date way back before the “industrial revolution”, what exactly is supposed to be the pre-industrial CO2 baseline? On the bright side, though, thank goodness all those American bison have now disappeared: they must have been major contributors!

  8. Joe Public permalink
    July 31, 2018 10:23 am

    Notice how the click-bait headline attempts to conflate the plant food that is CO2 with ‘pollution’?

    ALL vegans would starve to death if it wasn’t for CO2.

    • Broadlands permalink
      July 31, 2018 12:48 pm

      And if we eat what absorbs CO2 we put it back as we respire it with the oxygen it created. It doesn’t matter what animals eat. It is all “biofuel” for all animals. The whole thing is stupid?

  9. July 31, 2018 10:36 am

    I wasn’t aware that the big oil companies were big emitters of the gases that promote plant growth. I mistakenly thought it was consumers like me that do the emitting when I drive around or cut my grass.

    • Sheri permalink
      July 31, 2018 1:14 pm

      There is a tremendous amount of electricity required to extract oil and gas. Yes, you’re driving around is certainly a problem, but oil and gas extraction energy usage is too. (If you believe the nonsense on CO2).

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 31, 2018 2:49 pm

      “I wasn’t aware that the big oil companies were big emitters of the gases that promote plant growth. I mistakenly thought it was consumers like me …”

      Yes, like you and GreenPiss

      Rainbow Warrior III, like all the tubs GP has owned, all depend upon diesel for propulsion & on-board power generation.

      Here’s a vid of RW3 ‘sailing’ at speed. Note its invisible sails.

    • Colin permalink
      July 31, 2018 9:06 pm

      A very good point, and one completely missed by those who think divestment from big oil will reduce GHG emissions. A bit like moralistic Kerb crawlers demanding tougher sanctions against prostitutes.

  10. July 31, 2018 10:41 am

    This may be a lesson in dodgy statistics 101, if methane sources are fully included, but the natural losses of methane are not. Methane is destroyed in the atmosphere by OH radicals. Those with anti agendas could easily produce fake statistics, safe in the knowledge that the MSM will not ask awkward questions.

    • July 31, 2018 1:01 pm

      This is what GRAIN (the main organisation behind the report) is about:

      “GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems”

      File under “green” propaganda?

  11. David Ashton permalink
    July 31, 2018 11:14 am

    How did the world survive when 150 million Bison roamed the plains.

    • Sheri permalink
      July 31, 2018 1:15 pm

      They are “natural” so they don’t count. Nature is never included since only people can engage in capitalism.

  12. July 31, 2018 11:39 am

    Agriculture is the production of biomass and as such falls under the official definition of being a renewable energy source and thus non polluting. Ask Drax about that.

    The ultimate in agenda driven statistical doublethink.

    • July 31, 2018 11:45 am

      Good point. All life is renewable and thus must be good (according to our leaders). It is the ultimate in sustainability.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      July 31, 2018 7:19 pm

      cognog2,
      I had the same thought — so thanks for composing it nicely.

      This is the sort of post, where I usually add, stop burning our North American forests, please.

  13. July 31, 2018 1:02 pm

    Reblogged this on HiFast News Feed.

  14. Bill Dunnell permalink
    July 31, 2018 2:30 pm

    Cows, with proper grazing techniques, causes grasslands to flourish. Healthy grass leads to healthy soil and carbon capture. This is just the opposite of the “get ride of cows” global warming crowd and shows how far out of the realm of intelligence, wisdom and reality these clowns are. Getting ride of cows will destroy grasslands.

  15. Dave Ward permalink
    July 31, 2018 3:05 pm

    I have the solution – battery powered cows…

  16. alexei permalink
    July 31, 2018 4:09 pm

    Paul,
    Whilst I appreciate your deep concern for misrepresentation, false facts, etc. etc. and your own fondness for meat, “a decent diet” does not HAVE to include meat, as the world’s many voluntary vegetarians could testify. It was not lack of meat per se that caused starvation in China 60 years ago but rather Mao’s loony policies and widespread drought.

    P.S. One can be a full-on climate sceptic and also a vegetarian…………

    • AZ1971 permalink
      July 31, 2018 6:19 pm

      alexei,
      Yes they can be both a full-on climate skeptic and also a vegetarian, but if you recall human evolution, we were foragers and hunters before we were farmers. Our teeth are evidence that we evolved eating meat. Plus, for someone to impose their ideology on what I choose to eat or not eat is just too Orwellian for me to stomach (pardon the pun.) I 100% support your right to be vegetarian, or even vegan. I do not, however, support activism and governmental interference that impinges upon my right to eat animals.

    • yonason permalink
      July 31, 2018 8:34 pm

      Perhaps one can be a climate skeptic and also a vegetarian, but one can’t be a hard core vegetarian (i.e., vegan) without being at least a little crazy.
      https://www.weaselzippers.us/386356-british-butchers-living-in-fear-as-vegan-attacks-on-the-rise/

      I mean, how often do you see us carnivors terrorizing the produce section of our local markets?

      • alexei permalink
        August 1, 2018 3:43 pm

        “I mean, how often do you see us carnivors terrorizing the produce section of our local markets?”
        At present, you have no need to but it’s surprising how little protest there’s been in Britain to the imposition of halal meat in most official public places, including schools. Britain seems to have lost a lot of its concern for animal welfare somewhere along the line …………. Remember all those protests about exporting live animals back in the day???

  17. yonason permalink
    July 31, 2018 7:18 pm

    They slander oil and coal, because they don’t want us to have affordable reliable energy.

    They slander meat and dairy, because they don’t want us to have food that would enable us to function optimally.

    Gee, you’d think they wanted humanity to fail.

  18. saparonia permalink
    August 2, 2018 1:47 am

    Biomass is a part of the supply used by energy producers and is waste from the same animal death camps.

    I’m repulsed by those places of mindless cruelty, just look what they are like on one of the many youtube videos. I can’t look at meat in supermarkets without thinking how those innocents never saw the sun or grass or breathed fresh air. They never had a single moment of happiness.

    Halal meat is the same as any other except that some guy sings over it while they hang upside down bleeding to death. It carries the same misery.

    Britain is desensitised to anything approaching compassion in many ways, not only this.

  19. Vanessa permalink
    August 3, 2018 12:58 pm

    Do these people want to kill all plants ? Are they so stupid that they do not want to eat fruit and vegetables? Please, Somebody tell these idiots what they propose for all of us.

  20. August 5, 2018 9:34 pm

    NGO should stand for Not a Grain Of . . .

  21. August 6, 2018 2:22 am

    The GHG figures presented are misleading in several key respects:
    • The methane figure are CO2 equivalent tons which is multiplied by 34.
    • Methane is short lived in the atmosphere.
    • The IR absorption spectrum of methane is already covered by the far more abundant water vapor. Increased methane results in no increase in IR absorption. It is already fully absorbed in the methane absorption spectrum.
    • Methane production by animals is not restricted to livestock. Much of the plant material eaten by livestock would be consumed by insects and other wildlife and still produce methane.
    • CO2 emissions in the production process are present in the production of all food. How much more or less may result in any given instance is highly variable and without clear comparative data the figures presented are meaningless.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: