Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


The annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This is not to mention the human impact of geo-physical disasters, which are 91 percent climate-related, and which between 1998 and 2017 killed 1.3 million people, and left 4.4 billion injured. The goal aims to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development.


The most comprehensive review and consistent interpretation of the literature on animal agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gases place it at 37% of total emissions in CO2-equivalents. Furthermore, a significant proportion of these emissions are in the form of methane, a gas that is 83X more warming than CO2 during the period that it is in the atmosphere. Methane emissions are dangerous from the perspective of increasing the rate of warming over a period of 5-8 years, and potentially triggering many of the tipping points which will cause an inexorable natural feedback loop of warming, through the release of further methane by permafrost, deep ocean methane hydrates, and the destruction of carbon sinks like coral reefs and reflective ice surfaces. Animal agriculture also contributes to other greenhouse gases such as ammonia, from chicken urine, and fertilizers used to accelerate crop production lead to emissions of Nitrous Oxide.

The UN has already called for a 90% reduction in consuming animal products and being possibly the most easily achievable means to combat climate change that can be actioned, it is past time that this was completely embraced. Perhaps to further influence this shift two decisive steps could be taken, the first being to implement a severe penalty assessed directly upon industries that continue to promote high consumption of meat and dairy. Secondly, animal agriculture government subsidies should be redirected to transitioning elements of the livestock industry off this detrimental and unsustainable path. Funds could be put towards the repurposing of physical and managerial infrastructure, and retraining the workforce, to build sustainable food products and other sustainable and climate-friendly endeavors.

Other aspects of animal usage, such as animal-based tourism, hunting, horse racing, encourage travel and also put a strain on the biosphere through greenhouse gases and other pollutants, which contribute to climate change.


Further Reading:

Goal 13 : Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (United Nations website)

“Climate Change and Animal Agriculture, Explained” – When it comes to climate change, animal agriculture is a leading culprit, PETA / features –

“Animal Agriculture’s Impact on Climate Change” – Animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss. (additionally) Animal agriculture is linked to: 55 percent of erosion; 60 percent of nitrogen pollution; and 70 percent of the global dietary phosphorus footprint. If global consumption of meat and dairy continues to grow at the current pace, the agriculture sector could consume about 70 percent of the allowable budget for all GHG emissions by mid-century. Climate Nexus –