Agriculture is responsible for a quarter of greenhouse emissions, but who pays for these environmental costs?
• A new study shows that food products fail to include their environmental
costs in their price.
• If meat products included the cost of their carbon footprints, their prices would more than double.
• Policies to factor in these costs could change food consumption in ways that
lower carbon emissions.
When people think of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, they often tend to picture urban sources. Images of coal-burning factories, giant sport utility vehicles backed up in endless traffic jams, and energy-guzzling McMansions immediately come to mind.
This conception is not entirely correct, as a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions come from rural areas and agricultural production. Globally, a quarter of all such emissions come from agriculture. In the United States, 10 percent of all emissions have an agricultural source, roughly equal to the amount that comes from commercial and residential sources.