The livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, 65 percent of nitrous oxide, 37 percent of methane and 64 percent of ammonia. Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20 percent of all terrestrial animal biomass.
The FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options, says “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level”.
This is set against a background of accelerating growth in the agricultural sector in general, and livestock in particular, driven by population pressures and rising standards of living around the world. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.
The future is vegetarian.
For the full report, click here.