Food and Climate Change The world on a plate Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network
This presentation • Climate change: an overview • Food & its contribution to climate changing emissions by life cycle & food type • Specific issues: transport, refrigeration, waste, health • Climate change & its impact on food supply chains • How might we reduce food chain emissions? • What’s going on? Government & industry • Observations & conclusions • About the Food Climate Research Network
The facts • Latest (2007) IPCC report: • ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal…’ • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely[over 90% certainty]due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations
Climate change… • Temperature increase of 0.74ºC in last 100 years • 11 of last 12 years have been the warmest on record • Warming of oceans • Faster than average warming in Arctic
What is more… • Under BAU temperatures to rise by about 3°C by 2100 (range: 2 to 4.5°C ). • 2°C rise = ‘dangerous climate change’ • We’re already ‘committed’ to 1°C rise even if we stop producing any more GHGs right now. • We need to achieve 80% not 60% cuts by 2050 • UK not meeting our CO2 reduction targets • Will EU meet its 2012 Kyoto target (8% cut)?
Defining terms GHGs = greenhouse gas emissions CO2 the main GHG but… …others also important especially for food • Methane 213 x greater global warming potential than CO2 • Nitrous oxide 296 x greater global warming potential than CO2 • Refrigerant gases thousands of times greater than CO2
Need to consider emissions at all stages Need to consider emissions at all stages in the food chain: • Agriculture • Manufacturing • Refrigeration • Transport • Packaging • Retail • Home • Waste They all affect one another
A typical food LCA diagram Source: http://www-mat21.slu.se/publikation/pdf/Programplan2004.pdf
Overall food-related contribution to GHG emissions • EU EIPRO report: 31% all EU consumption related GHGs • FCRN UK estimates: around 19% (probably an underestimate) - Defra estimates similar • World agriculture contribution – 17 - 32% total global emissions • Huge uncertainty / variability between countries / differences in what’s included and what’s not
UK GHG emissions – how does food contribute? FCRN work in progress 2007
The GHG ‘hotspots’ vary by food • Agriculture Meat & dairy; glasshouse veg • Manufacture Bread baking • Storage Frozen peas or potatoes • Transport Anything airfreighted eg. berries • Cooking Baked potato, pasta, tea, coffee • Packaging Small bottle of beer • Waste Fruit & veg
And there are real difficulties drawing meaning from your measurements For example: • Relative contribution: Eg. Banana transport emissions greater than strawberries since we eat more of them but flown-in strawberries are more GHG intensive by volume. Policy implications? • Specific behaviour: farmer, consumer – huge variations How do you address this? • What’s the functional unit? Emissions per KG? vit C? pleasure? What do you want to achieve? • System boundaries: Farm machinery? How employee travelled to work? When does food end and everything else begin? • The existing infrastructure eg. Refrigeration: If the fridge is on whether the peas are in there or not can we really attribute refrigeration emissions to those peas? And what does it mean for the consumer?
Impacts by food type: FCRN work so far • Meat and dairy – about 8% • Fruit and veg - about 2.5% • Alcoholic drinks – about 1.5% • This is of the UK’s TOTAL GHG emissions • Similar to this Dutch study…
Klaas Jan Kramer, Henri C Moll, Sanderine Nonhebel, Harry C Wilting, Greenhouse gas emissions related to Dutch food consumption, Energy Policy 27 (1999) 203-216, Elsevier Publications
Food impacts by type: Fruit & vegetables • GHG contributions approx 2.5% total • Trends: increasing consumption of GHG intensive produce: • Air freighted • Unseasonal protected • Pre-prepared • Fragile / spoilable
Key impact areas • Transport • 1.5% f&v air freighted, accounting for 40 – 50% total f&v transport emissions • Air freight growing rapidly • Refrigeration • from post harvest home • Trade offs AND synergies with transport • Waste • Approx 25% fruit and veg wasted – most at domestic stage • Supply chain demands make waste inevitable
Less GHG intensive produce • Seasonal and field grown: no heating; fewer ‘tradeoffs’ • Robust (less need for rapid transport, less prone to waste, less temp critical?)
Food impacts by type: Alcoholic drinks • Contributes around 1.5% UK total • Not much difference between types • Hotspots: hospitality sector, transport, packaging • Lack of data
Trends: • More wine: relative importance of transport to grow? • More chilled: cold lagers, cider over ice, chilled wine, spirit mixers • More in-home: more single serve packages • Hospitality sector?? • More drinking
Scope for reduction? • Brewing / distilling: progress being made • Packaging: lightweighting (but little recycling from pubs etc.) • Hospitality sector: no policy focus here yet (but this is changing – more later) • Consumption: adherence to Dept of Health recs would lead to 18% reduction in consumption. BUT • Rebound effect • International trade
Food impacts by type: Meat & dairy • Global – 18% global emissions (FAO 2006) • EU – 15% EU emissions or 50% of all food impacts (EIPRO 2006) • Dutch study: 50% of all food impacts • UK (from FCRN study): • 6.6% production related GHG emissions (NETCEN & other) • 8% consumption emissions (Cranfield plus volumes based on MLC & Defra)
Projected global trends in meat & dairy demand Poultry takes biggest share of growth But per capita developing world demand still lower than developed world (IFPRI 2001)
But • We have to eat – there’ll always be an impact • Livestock production yields food and non food benefits – they ‘save’ having to produce them by other means • Some livestock rearing utilises unproductive land & by-products • Would non-animal substitutes be any better for GHG emissions?
To understand why the impacts arise and how/whether they can be reduced you need to look at • The inputs to the production system and GHG implications • The outputs from the system and GHG implications
Dairy bulls Dairy cows Beef bulls Suckler cows Suckler bull calves Suckler heifer calves Dairy bull calves Dairy replacement heifer calves calves MILK MEAT Beef bulls Dairy cows Crossbreed calves male and female Different systems have different inputs & outputs
Livestock system inputs • Cereals: How much? Alternative uses (food, biofuel)? • Oilseeds: Second order impacts? Relationship between cake and oil? • Grazing land: Inputs to? Alternative uses? Benefits of? • By-products: Alternative uses? • Land: What’s the best way of using the land for most output at least GHG cost? • Energy: on farm and indirect • What are the second order impacts eg. Lost carbon sequestration from land clearance? • What is the opportunity cost – could these inputs be used in other ways?
Livestock system outputs • Nutrition: protein, calcium, iron, B12, fat… • Leather & wool • Rendered products: glues, soaps, pet food… • Manure: nutrients and soil quality • Soil carbon sequestration • Landscape aesthetics & biodiversity
Questions • What benefits do we gain from livestock production? • Are these benefits accurately accounted for in life cycle analysis? • How much do we need these products? • (who defines need?) • To what extent can we obtain these goods / services by non livestock means and what would the GHG implications be?
General conclusions on meat, dairy and nutrition • Good source of calcium, iron & Vit B12 • Not so important for protein • Provides fat in excess • Livestock products not essential • But useful in small quantities esp. for vulnerable groups • Different issues for rich in developed world and extremely poor in developing world
Non food benefits • Leather: useful byproducts but not ‘needed’ at current levels (but developing world industries) • Comes with own environmental downsides • Wool: v. small textile player • Rendered products: are we making the most efficient use of the carcass?
Manure • Costs & benefits • Avoids need for mineral fertilisers (although harder to optimise input levels) • Contributes to soil quality / carbon sequestering properties of soil • Leads to methane and nitrous oxide emissions
Soil carbon sequestration, biodiversity & aesthetics (grazing land) • Pasture land important for carbon sequestration & biodiversity • But 20% land degraded by overgrazing worldwide (73% in dry areas) • Hence carbon losses and decline in biodiversity
Mitigation: relative importance of different gases - GWP Source: Williams AG (2007) per comm. Based on Williams, A.G., Audsley, E. and Sandars, D.L. (2006) Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities. Main Report. Defra Research Project IS0205.
Mitigation options • Husbandry (feed, breed etc) • Changing management (organic vs non organic, intensive vs extensive) • Managing outputs (manure) • Changing numbers
In the context of • Framing issues: Animal welfare, biodiversity, long term soil quality and soil carbon storage, rural economy • Managing trade offs:With other social / environmental concerns & pollution swapping • Land use:Need to consider the opportunity cost of using land for one purpose over another
GHGS: Foods with major impacts • Meat and dairy • 8% + UK estimate • 13.5% total EU GHG emissions (half of all food emissions): could we get our protein / iron / calcium / shoes /warm jumpers / glues in other ways? • FAO estimates livestock =18% global GHG emissions • Certain kinds of fruit and vegetables • Veg diets not always better • ‘Unnecessary’ foods and drinks – alcohol, beverages, confectionary • Whose needs? Who defines them? (more later)
Transport: What about food miles? • 2.5 – 3.5% of UK GHG emissions (incl imports) • Is nearer better? It depends…. • There are trade-offs to consider • Eg. agricultural production, manufacturing efficiency, energy mix, cold storage, waste • On the other hand…relationship between transport distance & refrigeration, & waste • Structural impacts on economy and infrastructure investment • Conflicting demands on land eg. biofuels. What should we use our land for? • ‘Answer’ now might be different to ‘answer’ in 5 – 10 years time
What about air freight? • The most GHG intensive form of transport • Less than 1% all food carried by air but = 11% total food transport CO2 (including car trips) • 1.5% fruit and veg carried by air but accounts for 40% total f&v transport CO2 • Kenyan green beans 20-26 times more GHG intensive than seasonal UK beans
Air freight continued…. • Absolute impacts small but in relative terms growing – and it subsidises passenger air travel • The greater the volume, the cheaper it is to fly food • Food is the fastest growing air freighted commodity • Might climate change increase use of air freight (variability of supply leads to more use of emergency ‘top ups’)?
Is air always the worst option? Sometimes other options can be more GHG intensive (eg. hothouse flowers in Feb from Holland compared with those from Kenya) BUT This doesn’t meant that air freight is ‘okay’ It just means that both have very high impacts!
However…air freight and developing countries Contribution of SSA countries to total non-EU fruit and veg air freighted imports: • Kenya 22% • S Africa 6% • Ghana 6% • Zimbabwe 3.6% Of top 20 air freight importers by volume, almost all less developed countries 1-1.5 mill people dependent on export horticulture • in SSA (up to 120,000 directly employed) • Lives depend upon it – some excellent projects • Joined up Govt policy implication?
Food refrigeration & GHGs Embedded impacts from imports & emissions from mobile refrigeration not included. IF THEY WERE....