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Meat and Global Warming: Impact Models, Mitigation Approaches and Ethical Aspects


  • Anders Nordgren


In this paper, I investigate the ethical problem of mitigation of climate change, to the extent this change is caused by animal production. First, I give an overview of various views of the nature and scale of the impact of animal production on climate change: the life cycle model, the complex impact model and the additional emissions model. Second, I analyse various approaches to mitigation of climate change to the extent it is caused by animal production, such as different technological solutions and more or less radical proposals for reduction of livestock numbers. Third, I carry out a preliminary investigation of ethical aspects to be taken into consideration in assessing the mitigation approaches: intergenerational justice, intragenerational justice, animal welfare, potential, and feasibility. Finally, I propose a kind of 'contraction and convergence' policy, i.e., a policy of reducing meat consumption to a certain level in developed countries while allowing people in developing countries to increase their consumption up to this level.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev21:ev2120

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Casey, J.W. & Holden, N.M., 2005. "Analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from the average Irish milk production system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 97-114, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Alcott, Blake, 2008. "The sufficiency strategy: Would rich-world frugality lower environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 770-786, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Response and Responsibility," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 391-396, November.

    More about this item


    Climate change; meat; mitigation; ethics; policy;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling


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