A new study provides a more inclusive accounting of the greenhouse gas emissions from EU diets. It shows that meat and dairy products are guilty for the lion's share of greenhouse emissions from the EU diet.
The average EU citizen has a food footprint of 1070 kg of CO2, which is equivalent per year when emissions from production, land use change and international transportation are taken into account, according to a new study undertaken by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
That's nearly the equal amount as the emissions produced by around 6,000 km driven in one passenger vehicle as per the European Commission, and about a third more compared to production-based estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from food.
The study found that meat and dairy make up for more than 75% of the impact from EU diets. That's because meat and dairy production causes not only direct emissions from animal production, but also adds to deforestation from cropland expansion for feed, which is frequently created outside of the EU.
Tracing food origin in greenhouse gas accounting is difficult, and many earlier studies did not trace the imports or used estimates only for few products or regions. The new study aims to balance depth and scale, providing a systematic methodology.