For many meat lovers, the idea of eating something that has been “grown” in a lab isn’t particularly appealing. However a new study by scientists at Oxford University and Amsterdam University has revealed that artificial meat could slash carbon emissions by a staggering 96%, offering a greener alternative to the tremendous environmental impact of the livestock industry.
Photo © Umberto Salvagnin
The researchers found that growing meat in a lab rather than slaughtering animals would generate only a tiny fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional livestock production. It could also help to feed the world’s ever-growing population, which is currently suffering from a food crisis. Growing meat in a lab would require between 7% and 45% less energy than the same volume of conventionally produced meat such as pork, beef, or lamb. It would also only use 1% of the land and 4% of the water associated with breeding livestock.
“The environmental impacts of cultured meat could be substantially lower than those of meat produced in the conventional way,” said Hanna Tuomisto, the researcher at Oxford University who led the study. “We are not saying that we could, or would necessarily want to, replace conventional meat with its cultured counterpart right now . . . However, our research shows that cultured meat could be part of the solution to feeding the world’s growing population and at the same time cutting emissions and saving both energy and water. Simply put, cultured meat is potentially a much more efficient and environmentally friendly way of putting meat on the table.”
It pains me to say it but as a man who enjoys his steak, this could change the world for the better. While I’m all for organic produce, the shocking fact is that the meat industry accounts for a shocking 9% of carbon dioxide, 65% of nitrous oxide and 37% of methane of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions. It also generates large quantities of ammonia that contribute to acid rain.
The livestock industry also uses a massive 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface, with even more land needed to produce feed. It is estimated that 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest that has been cleared has been used for grazing. With global meat production projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 2001 to 465 million metric tonnes by 2050, it is clear that an alternative is needed.
Via The Guardian