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Plant-based ‘beef’ cuts carbon dioxide but threatens agricultural jobs

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A plant-based alternative to beef could help reduce carbon emissions, but its growing popularity could disrupt the agricultural workforce and threaten industry jobs for more than 1.5 million people. The new economic model shows that there is.


The study was announced Aug. 3 by Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and international partners. lancet planet healthsuggests that policy makers are vigilant and ready to mitigate the negative impact of technological disruption.

By incorporating meat protein alternatives, the United States food Production can reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint by 2.5% to 13.5%, mainly by reducing the number of cattle required for production. beef production According to the paper, from 2 million to 12 million.

“Reducing carbon footprint and improving resource use efficiency of food systems are reasons why alternative proteins are included in the portfolio of technologies and policies to promote more sustainable food systems.” Faculty of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Global Development Studies Doctor.

“Still, a plant-based alternative to beef is not a silver bullet,” he said.

Researchers explored the potential disruption of plant-based alternatives to beef. economic impact Under different scenarios, 10%, 30% or 60% of current US beef demand will be replaced by plant-based beef alternatives.

“Overall, changes in the food system will have a small but potentially positive impact on the country’s gross domestic product.” sustainable food system When global change in the Global Development Department.

“But these changes are not being felt equally across the economy,” said Mason DeKroz, adding, “We are seeing major disruptions across the food system, especially the beef value chain, which could shrink by as much as 45%. has potential,” he said. The 60% alternative scenario threatens the livelihoods of her more than 1.5 million people employed in these sectors. “

act to reduce climate change But technological disruption can have many implications across the economy, including livelihoods, working conditions, human rights, fair wages and health equity.

“There are good reasons for regulators and policy makers to encourage these emerging technologies,” said Herrero, an academic and senior author at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Remaining aware of unintended negative consequences and committed to mitigating changes of ethical concern, including harm to disadvantaged workers, hard-hit communities and small producers. Have to.”

Adoption of plant-based beef alternatives can lead to other unintended consequences. beef Sectors such as livestock feed could enable the expansion of the pork and poultry sectors.

According to models, this could mean replacing 2-12 million cattle with 16-94 million chickens, or up to 1.4 million pigs, which raises animal welfare concerns. , said Mason-D’Croz, a faculty fellow at Cornell Atkinson.

The number of animals affected is likely to increase, and given that the pork and poultry sector frequently uses limited feeding operations, the welfare status of many pigs and poultry in agricultural production is lower than that of cattle. Too bad, says Mason-D’Croz.

“Nevertheless, various plant-based alternatives animal products Mason DeKroz said, “If these are widely adopted, they are unlikely to lead to an increase in animal numbers, even if it causes economic disruption and adversely affects the livelihoods of those employed in the animal-based food value chain. It gets lower. It gets bigger.”


Plant-based meat alternatives are growing, but not enough to impact the beef industry


For more information:
Daniel Mason-D’Croz et al, The Ethical and Economic Impact of Adoption of Novel Plant-Based Beef Substitutes in the United States: A General Equilibrium Modeling Study, lancet planet health (2022). DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00169-3

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Quote: Plant-Based ‘Beef’ Cuts Carbon Dioxide, But Threatens Agricultural Jobs (August 4, 2022) https://phys.org/news/2022-08-plant-based-beef-carbon- Retrieved on Aug 4, 2022 from oxide-threatens.html

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Plant-based ‘beef’ cuts carbon dioxide but threatens agricultural jobs

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