One-fifth of food-related greenhouse gas emissions come from transport: scientists

A fifth of food-related greenhouse gas emissions come from transport across the planet, as scientists say we should eat local.

Researchers in Australia say that transporting food around the world emits three gigatons of gases every year, and 6.6 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions are food-related emissions related to transport.

The amount of food emissions associated with trucks, ships, trains and planes is seven times higher than previously thought.

Food truck controlled in the Port of Northern Ireland
A fifth of food-related greenhouse gas emissions come from transport across the planet, as scientists say we should eat local. In this photo a lorry carrying chilled meat from mainland Britain is inspected at the Port of Larne in Larne, Northern Ireland on 31 December 2021.
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

It also far exceeds transport emissions from other commodities – for example, transport accounts for just 7 percent of emissions from industry and utilities.

Emissions from food transport are almost half those of direct emissions from road vehicles.

Fruit and vegetables account for a third of food transport emissions because they require twice the emissions to transport than to produce.

The researchers say their findings mean people need to make eating locally grown produce a priority.

For the new study, the team looked at 74 countries (origin and destination), 37 economic sectors (such as vegetables and fruit, livestock, coal and manufacturing), international and domestic transport distances and food masses.

China, the United States, India and Russia are the top emitters of food transportation, while rich countries contribute disproportionately.

Food Boss Truck in Australia
Emissions from food transportation are almost half those of direct emissions from road vehicles, scientists say. A Food Boss refrigerated truck is seen in this photo at the entrance of Victory Park on September 6, 2021 in Wilcannia, Australia.
Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Countries like the United States, Germany, France and Japan account for 12.5 percent of the world’s population, but produce almost half (46 percent) of food transport emissions.

If people just ate locally, it would save 0.38 gigatonnes – the amount of emissions that would result from driving 2,200 pounds to the sun and back 6,000 times.

While the team acknowledges that this scenario is not realistic, as many regions cannot be self-sufficient in food supplies, they say people and governments in rich countries should take further steps to limit the amount of imported food they eat to reduce.

One way to do that would be to run more agri-food on the outskirts.

They say governments should also invest in cleaner sources of energy for vehicles and encourage food companies to use less emission-intensive production and distribution methods such as natural refrigerants.

Foster Farms delivery truck
Research shows that China, the United States, India and Russia are the top emitters of food transportation, while rich countries contribute disproportionately. In this photo, a worker drives a Foster Farms truck preparing for a delivery at SF-Marin Food Bank November 8, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People should also change their eating habits, for example by not eating out-of-season foods when the situation changes, the researchers add.

Study co-author Professor David Raubenheimer from the University of Sydney, Australia, said: “Prior to our study, most attention in sustainable food research was focused on the high emissions associated with animal-based foods compared to plants.

“Our study shows that in addition to switching to a plant-based diet, local nutrition is ideal, especially in wealthy countries.”

The findings, titled “Global food miles account for almost 20% of total emissions from food systems,” were published in the Journal on June 20 health food.

Grocery store workers storing products
Fruits and vegetables account for a third of food transport emissions because they take twice as many emissions to transport as they do to produce, scientists say, adding that people should eat local whenever possible. A grocery store worker is seen in this photo on June 10, 2022 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

https://www.newsweek.com/fifth-food-related-greenhouse-gas-emissions-come-transportation-scientists-1719205 One-fifth of food-related greenhouse gas emissions come from transport: scientists

Rick Schindler

World Time Todays is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@worldtimetodays.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button