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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    1. Subak, Susan, 1999. "Global environmental costs of beef production," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 79-91, July.
    2. Keyzer, M.A. & Merbis, M.D. & Pavel, I.F.P.W. & van Wesenbeeck, C.F.A., 2005. "Diet shifts towards meat and the effects on cereal use: can we feed the animals in 2030?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 187-202, November.
    3. York, Richard & Gossard, Marcia Hill, 2004. "Cross-national meat and fish consumption: exploring the effects of modernization and ecological context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 293-302, March.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Siikamäki, Juha, 2006. "Air Emissions of Ammonia and Methane from Livestock Operations: Valuation and Policy Options," Discussion Papers dp-06-11, Resources For the Future.
    5. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    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. 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, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235733, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    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. 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).
    6. Martin, William J. & Fukase, Emiko, 2014. "Who Will Feed China in the 21st Century? Income," Proceedings Issues, 2014: Food, Resources and Conflict, December 7-9, 2014, San Diego, California 197164, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1550-:d:110395 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:energy:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:155-166 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:ecolec:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:48-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Carfì, David & Donato, Alessia & Schilirò, Daniele, 2018. "An environmentally sustainable global economy. A coopetitive model," MPRA Paper 86718, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. 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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