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Meeting the demand: An estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from meat production

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  • Fiala, Nathan

Abstract

Current production processes for meat products have been shown to have a significant impact on the environment, accounting for between 15% and 24% of current greenhouse gas emissions. Meat consumption has been increasing at a fantastic rate and is likely to continue to do so into the future. If this demand is to be met, technology used in production in the form of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) will need to be expanded. This paper estimates future meat consumption and discusses the potential aggregate environmental impact of this production if the use of CAFOs is expanded. I first separate meat into beef, chicken and pig products and estimate the elasticities associated with each product in order to forecast the world demand for meat. Using research on the environmental impact of food production in the US, which uses one of the most efficient CAFO processes in the world, I then calculate the total potential greenhouse emissions of this meat production and discuss the impact of these consumption patterns. I find that, under an expanded CAFO system, meat production in the future will still be a large producer of greenhouse gases, accounting for up to 6.3% of current greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.

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  • Fiala, Nathan, 2008. "Meeting the demand: An estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from meat production," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 412-419, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:412-419
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Louis-Georges Soler & Alban Thomas, 2020. "Is there a win–win scenario with increased beef quality and reduced consumption?," Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 91-116, October.
    2. Anders Nordgren, 2012. "Meat and Global Warming: Impact Models, Mitigation Approaches and Ethical Aspects," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 437-457, November.
    3. Alban Thomas, 2020. "Is there a win-win scenario with both limited beef production and reduced beef consumption?," Working Papers hal-02790948, HAL.
    4. Panzone, Luca A. & Wossink, Ada & Southerton, Dale, 2013. "The design of an environmental index of sustainable food consumption: A pilot study using supermarket data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 44-55.
    5. Louis-Georges Soler & Alban Thomas, 0. "Is there a win–win scenario with increased beef quality and reduced consumption?," Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    6. Martin, William J. & Fukase, Emiko, 2014. "Who Will Feed China in the 21st Century? Income," 2014: Food, Resources and Conflict, December 7-9, 2014. San Diego, California 197164, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    7. Benjamin De Groeve & Brent Bleys, 2017. "Less Meat Initiatives at Ghent University: Assessing the Support among Students and How to Increase It," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-13, August.
    8. Dai, Xiao-wen & Sun, Zhanli & Müller, Daniel, 2021. "Driving factors of direct greenhouse gas emissions from China’s pig industry from 1976 to 2016," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 319-329.
    9. Caroline Ignell & Peter Davies & Cecilia Lundholm, 2013. "Swedish Upper Secondary School Students’ Conceptions of Negative Environmental Impact and Pricing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-15, March.
    10. Carfì, David & Donato, Alessia & Schilirò, Daniele, 2018. "An environmentally sustainable global economy. A coopetitive model," MPRA Paper 86718, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Emiko Fukase & Will Martin, 2016. "Who Will Feed China in the 21st Century? Income Growth and Food Demand and Supply in China," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 3-23, February.
    12. Almeida, Alexandre N. & Santos, Augusto S. & Halmenschlager, Vinícius & Gilio, Leandro & Diniz, Tiago B. & Ferreira, Alexandre A. S., 2016. "Flexible-fuel automobiles and CO2 emissions in Brazil: a semiparametric analysis using panel data," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235733, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Bonnet, Céline & Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra & Corre, Tifenn, 2016. "An environmental tax towards more sustainable food consumption: empirical evidence of the French meat and marine food consumption," TSE Working Papers 16-639, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    14. Carfì, David & Donato, Alessia & Schilirò, Daniele, 2018. "Sustainability of global feeding.Coopetitive interaction among vegan and non-vegan food firms," MPRA Paper 88400, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Mainali, Brijesh & Emran, Saad Been & Silveira, Semida, 2017. "Greenhouse gas mitigation using poultry litter management techniques in Bangladesh," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 155-166.
    16. Bonnet, Céline & Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra & Corre, Tifenn, 2018. "An Environmental Tax Towards More Sustainable Food: Empirical Evidence of the Consumption of Animal Products in France," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 48-61.
    17. Vainio, Annukka & Niva, Mari & Jallinoja, Piia & Latvala, Terhi, 2015. "From beef to beans: Eating motives and the replacement of animal proteins with plant proteins among the Finnish consumers," 143rd Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, March 25-27, 2015, Naples, Italy 202732, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    18. Paula Arcari, 2017. "Normalised, human-centric discourses of meat and animals in climate change, sustainability and food security literature," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 34(1), pages 69-86, March.

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