As the planet continues to warm, researchers continue working to better understand the sources of greenhouse emissions. In this new effort, the researchers looked at greenhouse emissions related to food production.
The data revealed little difference in greenhouse gas emissions from conventional meat production and that grown organically. They found that emission reductions by organically grown animals (in which fertilizer is not used to produce feed) were often offset by increases in methane released due to slower growth rates and the need to raise more animals, as organically fed animals tend to produce less meat. More specifically, they found very little difference in emissions between conventionally produced beef and beef grown organically. They also found that organically grown chickens produced slightly more emissions than those grown conventionally, and that organic pork produced fewer emissions than conventional pork.
The researchers suggest the need for meat taxes that reflect the environmental cost of their production. They calculated such a tax for conventional beef would raise its price by approximately 40% while organic beef would see a price increase of just 25% (because it is already more expensive than regular beef). Prices for animal-related products, such as cheese or milk, would also rise. Prices for food plants, on the other hand, would remain nearly the same.