Consumption of meat, dairy products not linked to global warming

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Washington, March 23 (ANI): Cutting down on consumption of meat and dairy products will not reduce global warming, says a new research.

Until now, experts had linked diets rich in animal products to production of greenhouse gases.

Air quality expert Frank Mitloehner insists that the notion is fruitless to curbing global warming.

He said campaigns such as "meatless Mondays" and "Less Meat = Less Heat," were inconsequential.

Mitloehner, who is with the University of California-Davis, said: "We certainly can reduce our greenhouse-gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk. Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.

"The developed world should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food. In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse gas production."

He suggested developed countries should reduce use of oil and coal for electricity, heating and vehicle fuels.

Mitloehner says confusion over meat and milk's role in climate change stems from a small section printed in the executive summary of a 2006 United Nations report, "Livestock's Long Shadow."

It read: "The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport."

Mitloehner says there is no doubt that livestock are major producers of methane, one of the greenhouse gases. But he faults the methodology of "Livestock's Long Shadow," contending that numbers for the livestock sector were calculated differently from transportation.

In the report, the livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed; animals' digestive emissions; and processing meat and milk into foods. But the transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving and not all other transport lifecycle related factors.

He ended: "This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue."

The report was presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. (ANI)

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