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Food and Climate Change The world on a plate Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network.

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Presentation on theme: "Food and Climate Change The world on a plate Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food and Climate Change The world on a plate Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network

2 This presentation Climate change: an overview Food & its contribution to climate changing emissions by life cycle & food type Specific issues: transport, refrigeration, waste, health Climate change & its impact on food supply chains How might we reduce food chain emissions? Whats going on? Government & industry Observations & conclusions About the Food Climate Research Network

3 1. Climate change: an overview

4 The facts Latest (2007) IPCC report: Warming of the climate system is unequivocal… Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [over 90% certainty] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations

5 Climate change… Temperature increase of 0.74ºC in last 100 years 11 of last 12 years have been the warmest on record Warming of oceans Faster than average warming in Arctic

6 What is more… Under BAU temperatures to rise by about 3°C by 2100 (range: 2 to 4.5°C ). 2°C rise = dangerous climate change Were already committed to 1°C rise even if we stop producing any more GHGs right now. We need to achieve 80% not 60% cuts by 2050 UK not meeting our CO 2 reduction targets Will EU meet its 2012 Kyoto target (8% cut)?



9 Defining terms GHGs = greenhouse gas emissions CO 2 the main GHG but… …others also important especially for food Methane 213 x greater global warming potential than CO 2 Nitrous oxide 296 x greater global warming potential than CO 2 Refrigerant gases thousands of times greater than CO 2

10 2. Overall food related GHG emissions

11 Need to consider emissions at all stages Need to consider emissions at all stages in the food chain: Agriculture Manufacturing Refrigeration Transport Packaging Retail Home Waste They all affect one another

12 A typical food LCA diagram Source:

13 Overall food-related contribution to GHG emissions EU EIPRO report: 31% all EU consumption related GHGs FCRN UK estimates: around 19% (probably an underestimate) - Defra estimates similar World agriculture contribution – % total global emissions Huge uncertainty / variability between countries / differences in whats included and whats not

14 UK GHG emissions – how does food contribute? FCRN work in progress 2007

15 The GHG hotspots vary by food 1.AgricultureMeat & dairy; glasshouse veg 2.ManufactureBread baking 3.StorageFrozen peas or potatoes 4.TransportAnything airfreighted eg. berries 5.CookingBaked potato, pasta, tea, coffee 6.PackagingSmall bottle of beer 7.WasteFruit & veg

16 And there are real difficulties drawing meaning from your measurements For example: Relative contribution: Eg. Banana transport emissions greater than strawberries since we eat more of them but flown-in strawberries are more GHG intensive by volume. Policy implications? Specific behaviour: farmer, consumer – huge variations How do you address this? Whats the functional unit? Emissions per KG? vit C? pleasure? What do you want to achieve? System boundaries: Farm machinery? How employee travelled to work? When does food end and everything else begin? The existing infrastructure eg. Refrigeration: If the fridge is on whether the peas are in there or not can we really attribute refrigeration emissions to those peas? And what does it mean for the consumer?

17 Impacts by food type: FCRN work so far Meat and dairy – about 8% Fruit and veg - about 2.5% Alcoholic drinks – about 1.5% This is of the UKs TOTAL GHG emissions Similar to this Dutch study…

18 Klaas Jan Kramer, Henri C Moll, Sanderine Nonhebel, Harry C Wilting, Greenhouse gas emissions related to Dutch food consumption, Energy Policy 27 (1999) , Elsevier Publications

19 Food impacts by type: Fruit & vegetables GHG contributions approx 2.5% total Trends: increasing consumption of GHG intensive produce: –Air freighted –Unseasonal protected –Pre-prepared –Fragile / spoilable

20 Key impact areas Transport –1.5% f&v air freighted, accounting for 40 – 50% total f&v transport emissions –Air freight growing rapidly Refrigeration –from post harvest home –Trade offs AND synergies with transport Waste –Approx 25% fruit and veg wasted – most at domestic stage –Supply chain demands make waste inevitable

21 Less GHG intensive produce Seasonal and field grown: no heating; fewer tradeoffs Robust (less need for rapid transport, less prone to waste, less temp critical?)

22 Food impacts by type: Alcoholic drinks Contributes around 1.5% UK total Not much difference between types Hotspots: hospitality sector, transport, packaging Lack of data

23 Relative contribution of stages to beer emissions (draft & packaged)

24 Relative contribution of stages to wine emissions

25 Relative contribution of stages to spirit emissions

26 Trends: More wine: relative importance of transport to grow? More chilled: cold lagers, cider over ice, chilled wine, spirit mixers More in-home: more single serve packages Hospitality sector?? More drinking

27 Scope for reduction? Brewing / distilling: progress being made Packaging: lightweighting (but little recycling from pubs etc.) Hospitality sector: no policy focus here yet (but this is changing – more later) Consumption: adherence to Dept of Health recs would lead to 18% reduction in consumption. BUT –Rebound effect –International trade

28 Food impacts by type: Meat & dairy Global – 18% global emissions (FAO 2006) EU – 15% EU emissions or 50% of all food impacts (EIPRO 2006) Dutch study: 50% of all food impacts UK (from FCRN study): –6.6% production related GHG emissions (NETCEN & other) –8% consumption emissions (Cranfield plus volumes based on MLC & Defra)

29 Projected global trends in meat & dairy demand But per capita developing world demand still lower than developed world (IFPRI 2001) Poultry takes biggest share of growth

30 But We have to eat – therell always be an impact Livestock production yields food and non food benefits – they save having to produce them by other means Some livestock rearing utilises unproductive land & by-products Would non-animal substitutes be any better for GHG emissions?

31 To understand why the impacts arise and how/whether they can be reduced you need to look at The inputs to the production system and GHG implications The outputs from the system and GHG implications

32 Dairy cowsSuckler cows Dairy replacement heifer calves calves Dairy bull calves Suckler bull calvesSuckler heifer calves MEAT MILK Dairy bullsBeef bulls Dairy cowsBeef bulls Crossbreed calves male and female Different systems have different inputs & outputs

33 Livestock system inputs Cereals: How much? Alternative uses (food, biofuel)? Oilseeds: Second order impacts? Relationship between cake and oil? Grazing land: Inputs to? Alternative uses? Benefits of? By-products: Alternative uses? Land: Whats the best way of using the land for most output at least GHG cost? Energy: on farm and indirect What are the second order impacts eg. Lost carbon sequestration from land clearance? What is the opportunity cost – could these inputs be used in other ways?

34 Livestock system outputs Nutrition: protein, calcium, iron, B12, fat… Leather & wool Rendered products: glues, soaps, pet food… Manure: nutrients and soil quality Soil carbon sequestration Landscape aesthetics & biodiversity

35 Questions What benefits do we gain from livestock production? Are these benefits accurately accounted for in life cycle analysis? How much do we need these products? –(who defines need?) To what extent can we obtain these goods / services by non livestock means and what would the GHG implications be?

36 General conclusions on meat, dairy and nutrition Good source of calcium, iron & Vit B12 Not so important for protein Provides fat in excess Livestock products not essential But useful in small quantities esp. for vulnerable groups Different issues for rich in developed world and extremely poor in developing world

37 Non food benefits Leather: useful byproducts but not needed at current levels (but developing world industries) –Comes with own environmental downsides Wool: v. small textile player Rendered products: are we making the most efficient use of the carcass?

38 Manure Costs & benefits –Avoids need for mineral fertilisers (although harder to optimise input levels) –Contributes to soil quality / carbon sequestering properties of soil –Leads to methane and nitrous oxide emissions

39 Soil carbon sequestration, biodiversity & aesthetics (grazing land) Pasture land important for carbon sequestration & biodiversity But 20% land degraded by overgrazing worldwide (73% in dry areas) Hence carbon losses and decline in biodiversity

40 Mitigation: relative importance of different gases - GWP Source: Williams AG (2007) per comm. Based on Williams, A.G., Audsley, E. and Sandars, D.L. (2006) Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities. Main Report. Defra Research Project IS0205.

41 Mitigation options 1.Husbandry (feed, breed etc) 2.Changing management (organic vs non organic, intensive vs extensive) 3.Managing outputs (manure) 4.Changing numbers

42 In the context of Framing issues: Animal welfare, biodiversity, long term soil quality and soil carbon storage, rural economy Managing trade offs: With other social / environmental concerns & pollution swapping Land use: Need to consider the opportunity cost of using land for one purpose over another

43 GHGS: Foods with major impacts Meat and dairy –8% + UK estimate –13.5% total EU GHG emissions (half of all food emissions): could we get our protein / iron / calcium / shoes /warm jumpers / glues in other ways? –FAO estimates livestock =18% global GHG emissions Certain kinds of fruit and vegetables –Veg diets not always better Unnecessary foods and drinks – alcohol, beverages, confectionary –Whose needs? Who defines them? (more later)

44 3. Specific issues: Transport, refrigeration, waste, health

45 Transport: What about food miles? 2.5 – 3.5% of UK GHG emissions (incl imports) Is nearer better? It depends…. There are trade-offs to consider –Eg. agricultural production, manufacturing efficiency, energy mix, cold storage, waste On the other hand…relationship between transport distance & refrigeration, & waste Structural impacts on economy and infrastructure investment Conflicting demands on land eg. biofuels. What should we use our land for? Answer now might be different to answer in 5 – 10 years time

46 What about air freight? The most GHG intensive form of transport Less than 1% all food carried by air but = 11% total food transport CO 2 (including car trips) 1.5% fruit and veg carried by air but accounts for 40% total f&v transport CO 2 Kenyan green beans times more GHG intensive than seasonal UK beans

47 Air freight continued…. Absolute impacts small but in relative terms growing – and it subsidises passenger air travel The greater the volume, the cheaper it is to fly food Food is the fastest growing air freighted commodity Might climate change increase use of air freight (variability of supply leads to more use of emergency top ups)?

48 Is air always the worst option? Sometimes other options can be more GHG intensive (eg. hothouse flowers in Feb from Holland compared with those from Kenya) BUT This doesnt meant that air freight is okay It just means that both have very high impacts!

49 However…air freight and developing countries Contribution of SSA countries to total non-EU fruit and veg air freighted imports: Kenya 22% S Africa 6% Ghana 6% Zimbabwe 3.6% Of top 20 air freight importers by volume, almost all less developed countries mill people dependent on export horticulture in SSA (up to 120,000 directly employed) Lives depend upon it – some excellent projects Joined up Govt policy implication?

50 Refrigeration life cycle stage Carbon emissions MT Contribution to UK GHG (total 179 MTCe) Manufacturing % Food retail & catering % Domestic % UK total % Embedded impacts from imports & emissions from mobile refrigeration not included. IF THEY WERE.... Food refrigeration & GHGs

51 Then overall refrigeration GHGs 3-3.5% of UK total Total food related GHGs around 19-20% Food refrigeration = 17-18% all food GHGs

52 Reducing impacts: How far will technology get us? Savings between 20-50% possible Novel technologies eg. trigeneration Institutional inertia & short term costing Policies in place / being developed Masses of advice

53 But we now live in a refrigeration dependent society: Why? Changes in foods & drinks we buy Changes in how we live our lives –Economic changes –Weekly shopping –Women –Lifestyles –Housing design/ temperatures Infrastructure development stimulates cold food manufacturing which stimulates infrastructure investment – and reinforces behavioural norms


55 Future refrigeration trends? Some projections refrig. emissions set to decline. But: A warming climate? More dependency New product innovation? –product/technology/behaviour interface Cant look at refrigeration emissions alone: –Nexus of transport, packaging, retail and IT infrastructure within which refrigeration technology is situated.

56 In short Refrigeration as marker of unsustainable energy use? –Nodal point of energy intensive practices/behaviours Policies need to tackle not just refrigeration energy use but refrigeration dependency

57 A less refrigeration dependent food chain Foods Less meat and dairy Fewer fragile foods More seasonal robust produce More frequent shopping / cooking patterns Optimum fridge size / level of infrastructure? Food safety / waste - issues more nuanced than at first appears.

58 Waste: why is it a problem for food GHGs? Decomposing food generates methane (small problem) Wasted food represents a waste of all the emissions generated during the course of growing, processing, storing, transporting, retailing and cooking the food. (BIG PROBLEM) Around1/3 food we eat is thrown away, most of it edible.

59 The most wasted foods Top 5 waste categories: fruit and veg, meat and fish, bakery, dairy, rice and pasta High waste foods = mostly also GHG intensive Most waste occurs at household stage – once food has embedded upstream GHG emissions BUT: If we waste less will we buy less? Will farmers grow less? Will supermarkets sell less food & but more GHG intensive? Or energy using non food products? Will we export more / import less? What are the policy implications? What action is needed?

60 What about organic? Many benefits to organic: –Long term soil quality –Biodiversity But its not always less GHG intensive –Eg. Poultry ALTHOUGH it sometimes is! So how do you act consistently?

61 Is healthy food less GHG intensive? It depends…


63 Two balanced meals… A ninefold GHG difference Production of meal on the left is nine times less GHG intensive than the one on the right Carlsson-Kanyama A (1998) Climate change and dietary choices - how can emissions of greenhouse gases from food consumption be reduced? Food Policy, vol 23, no.3/4, pp

64 4. Impact of climate change on the food system

65 Impacts on agriculture Huge uncertainty... Impacts depend on Interplay between: Gradual temperature increase CO 2 effect Wildcards (extreme drought, flooding) Water Economics, demographics, infrastructure

66 Impacts continued... May be positive in N. Countries up to then negative Poor countries – negative and then more negative Changes in crop suitability Crop and livestock diseases Water Poor will suffer most

67 Source: IPCC 2004 Wkg Gp II Ch5 The picture by 2050

68 Climate change – knock on effects If current sources no longer viable – need to source from elsewhere (further?) Increasing reliance on emergency top ups (by air)? Weather related spoilage / waste

69 Major commodity crops - impacts –Wheat: North – South divide –Rice: water shortages –Cocoa: W. Africa – threat from drought –Coffee: more vulnerable –Wine grapes: water? Quality? –Cane sugar: water Increased developing world dependence on imports from developed world

70 Post harvest impacts Food sourcing, processing and distribution Disruptions to transport & stationary infrastructure Unpredictability can lead to crop spoilage & waste Changes in sourcing decisions? More imports to developing world Consumption Changes in consumer demand? Consequences for food industry & household energy use? Food safety problems?

71 The CC context Physical effects of CC need to be seen in social, economic, political, demographic and infrastructural context – feedback interactions Climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities of poor in developing world The more rapid the climate change the harder it will be to adapt Poor farmers less likely to be able to adapt – infrastructural, political, economic barriers

72 What might the impacts be for food supply? Current sources no longer viable? More variability of supply? Challenges for transport / distribution infrastructure The right sourcing answer from a GHG perspective depends on which part of the supply chain cleans up its act / adapts first Impact of legislation may be more important in the short term

73 5. Reducing foods GHG contribution

74 How far will technology get us? Agriculture: plant breeding; better nutrient use; alternative fuel sources for greenhouses Manufacturing: CHP / trigeneration / polygeneration / life cycle costing Refrigeration: 20-50% efficiency savings possible; novel technologies including non HFC refrigeration, trigeneration (increases efficiency from 38% to 76%). Packaging: lightweighting, alternative materials, ambient storage packaging

75 More technological options Transport: modal shift, efficient supply chains; cleaner fuels (in future years) Retailing: massive scope for improvements in lighting and refrigeration; renewables Domestic: energy efficient appliances, visible energy metering Lots of little impacts/solutions rather than one big one

76 But Will this get us to an 80% cut by 2050? Technological improvements dont address the root problems of the way we consume And technology shapes behaviour, fostering new (energy dependent) norms Two examples…

77 Eg.1: Ready meal vs home cooking Is the energy efficient ready meal the answer? No trimmings or scraps: less waste Production stage scraps can be used for animal feed No packaging for individual ingredients More efficient industrial ovens Only transport what is eaten: less transport Recent LCA showed little difference between home and ready-meal But: complex multi-ingredient, elaborately prepared food reliant on long supply chains and refrigeration becomes the norm – triggering further innovations…problem exacerbated?

78 Eg. 2: Food waste: how to reduce? Wasted food = wasted CO 2 + CH 4 One third food bought is not eaten The technology approach? Improve packaging, portion size (no leftovers), extend food life span to match our lifestyles? Keep food properly refrigerated. Shrink-wrapped cucumber last longer than unpackaged cucumber The behaviour approach? Plan your meals, shop little and often, eat food soon after youve bought it, use your leftovers, compost scraps, shared living? Eat that cucumber sooner rather than later!

79 What might a less GHG intensive way of eating look like? Changing the balance of what we eat –Less meat & dairy - lower down on food chain Seasonal field grown foods (less storage, heating & transport) –UK seasonal when possible –Elsewhere seasonal when not Not eating certain foods –Avoiding hothoused/air freighted produce (but developing world?) Reducing dependence on cold chain –Robust foods (including less processed) –Frequent non car based shopping / frequent turnover of food

80 Less GHG intensive eating But wasting less –Eat what we buy, soon after weve bought it –Accepting variability of quality and supply Efficient cooking –Cook for more people and for several days –Less use of oven Redefining quality –Accepting different notions of quality –Accepting more variability

81 How? Life is complicated and food is a complex part of life

82 Food Entertainment Neurosis Habit Pleasure Need Social glue Satisfaction Comfort Status Love Power Bribery Time-pass Nurture Religious significance Ritual Guilt Food and its meanings

83 Influenced by wider forces Price / affordability Availability Time – work / stressed leisure syndrome Culture, social & family expectations, norms, aspirations Knowledge, information, fashions & beliefs (education, media, marketing) Demographic changes: ageing population, single person society, wealth Technological changes Season Tastes Habits

84 What might this mean for the food industry? Consistency, choice, ubiquity, availability, variety… Versus Less choice? More variability of quality? Non availability? A move away from cheap meat? From chilled foods….

85 You cannot wait for consumers to change their behaviour They dont know enough They dont care enough Behaviour lock-in They wont unless they have to... Govt and industry must take the lead – change the context of consumption

86 6. The policy context – global and UK

87 The global context Rising population – 9 billion by 2050 Increasing food / oil prices Dash for biofuels Nutrition transition Land pressures (Climate change legislation...)

88 A few framing policies/initiatives Kyoto Protocol Bali 2007 agreement on deforestation EU Emissions Trading Scheme European Commission Energy Policy –20% GHG cut by 2020 (should be 30%+) –Biofuels 10% transport fuels by 2020 (criticisms) Biofuels support – EU, US

89 The UK context: the new Climate Change Bill New UK Climate Change Bill – 60% reduction by 2050 Targeted 5 yearly budgets set at least 15 years ahead 26-32% cut by 2020 This is good but we need 80-90% cuts to keep emissions below 450ppm Target currently being reconsidered

90 Food/climate relevant legislation and initiatives (UK) Climate Change Agreements Carbon Reduction Commitment (consultation) Food Industry Sustainability Strategy and champions groups recommendations Market Transformation Programme (radical improvements in devt and uptake of energy efficient technology) Cabon Trust advice and support Various Defra research programmes Product road maps on reducing impacts (eg. dairy products Developing consistent GHG labelling methodology (with business and British Standards) Thinking about personal carbon allowances (could food be incorporated into this?)

91 UK policy Is this enough? Little direct focus on agriculture Business running ahead of Government Where is a coherent vision backed up with a plan?

92 Regulation Legislation Caps, quotas, thresholds, bans Economic and fiscal Voluntary agreements Education, marketing & promotion Social pressure What new measures should we be considering? What measures have worked for food & how can we strengthen them? Policy instruments Government: Some policy tools Consumers Food industry Technological change & uptake

93 7. What is the food industry doing?

94 Some food industry initiatives - agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (Nestle, Unilever, Danone, Kraft etc.) EUREPGAP Roundtables on sustainable soy / palm oil Not specifically climate focused

95 Food industry initiatives: retailers M & S: £200 million Plan A All operations carbon neutral by % energy cut; power stores with green electricity Label and reduce air freighted produce Tesco: –Label and reduce air freighted produce –50% energy cut in stores and DCs by 2020 –£100 million renewables fund –Halve distribution emissions / case in 5 yrs Migros (Switzerland) – to introduce carbon labelling French and Australian announcements

96 Food industry initiatives: manufacturers Tate & Lyle: biomass boiler to replace 70% fossil energy McCain's: up to 70% electricity needs from renewables including wind turbines and CHP plant running on biogas Cadburys: 50% absolute cut in carbon emissions by 2020 Many others starting to carbon footprint their operations But focus of food industry is on efficiency rather than shifts in consumption.

97 Policy & business limitations Reluctant to question core business principles of Choice, Variety, Ubiquity, Repeatability, Convenience. And therefore scope for GHG reduction limited largely to technological change And technological change alone creates further behavioural changes Need not just to do things more efficiently but… …Sell / dont sell different stuff - choice editing

98 8. Observations and conclusions

99 Foods impacts Climate change is happening Food contributes to a significant proportion of global GHG emissions All stages in the supply chain contribute to emissions Agriculture most significant stage / meat and dairy most GHG intensive food Global food demand is moving in more GHG intensive directions

100 Climate change will affect global food supply - poor regions will suffer most Technology unlikely to get us to an 80% cut Consumption shifts needed too Policy and govt beginning to tackle problem but only from efficiency perspective

101 Some major concerns 9 billion people on planet in 2050 Increase in numbers in absolute poverty AND growing wealth in many parts of developing world The poor will suffer most from climate change An 80%+ cut in developed world GHGs needed Tackle problems in isolation or as a whole - atomised vs synthetic approach?

102 Land – the big challenge In the context of 9 billion on planet by 2050 What is the best use of global land so that: –We are all fed adequately... –At minimum GHG cost? –Stored carbon is not released? –Biodiversity is protected? –Other ethical non-negotiables upheld?? Meeting Needs rather than demand - only feasible approach

103 In other words.... Land to feed animals or to feed humans? Land for feed production or for carbon sequestration? Land for animal rearing or for biomass production? We need to collaborate globally and think strategically about how to make best use of land. But how?

104 Some research challenges We need to: Gain good enough understanding of where the problem lies by particular food type Work out how far technology can get us Improve understanding on what sorts of consumption patterns (in the context of these technology changes) can help achieve reductions Understand more clearly how technological innovation influences behaviour and vice versa Frame the climate change debate in the context of other social, environmental and economic concerns LCA can inform policy but vagaries of consumer and business behaviour ALSO need to inform LCA

105 9. About the FCRN

106 The FCRN: some context Funded by UK research council & based at Surrey University (

107 The FCRN Funded by UK research council & based at Surrey University ( Focuses on: Researching food chain contribution to GHG emissions and options for emissions reduction Sharing and communicating information on food & climate change with member network

108 Research activities What are the GHG impacts of food? What do we know about ways of reducing emissions, both technological & behavioural? What dont we know? What are the policy implications? What are the future research priorities?

109 FCRN outputs 1.Four comprehensive studies so far: 1.Fruit & vegetables 2.Alcoholic drinks 3.Food refrigeration 4.Meat & dairy 2.See here for publications m m

110 Communication & networking Communicates information & fosters knowledge-sharing to 760+ members Across disciplines Across sectors (eg. Govt, business, NGOs, academic) How? Mailing / newslist on food/climate issues Runs seminars Meetings & presentations Website

111 Thank you and please join Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network

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