14 May 2013

Climate impact of food examined in new report

The kind of food we buy has more significance in terms of impact on the climate than where the products come from. This is shown in a new report, containing up-to-date research, compiled in the ENTWINED programme.

In their report Food Consumption Choices and Climate Change, a group of researchers at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute who are taking part in the programme have assessed the climate impacts of food grown locally and at a distance, using life-cycle analyses.

The assessment shows that growing produce locally is not always the smartest choice in environmental terms. In fact, transport distance has a fairly small bearing on the overall impact. Emissions of greenhouse gases can be reduced substantially by substituting vegetarian options for beef. This can halve emissions from food.

ENTWINED, which focuses on the interplay between international environmental policy and the global trade system, is in its final year. The report is included in the Issue Briefs series that the programme publishes to present its research to decision-makers and other planned users. The results concerning how we should eat to reduce environmental impact have been well publicised in the media.

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