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Despite the fact livestock hold the distinction of being a significant contributor to greenhouse gases and climate change, what critics fail to recognize is that this problem is restricted to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) only. That means companies like Tyson, Cargill, Monsanto, JBS, Smithfield, Perdue. Organic grass-fed beef production is actually a tangible solution for the current environmental and animal cruelty problems that are prevalent today.

Alternatively, the process of growing meat in a lab does not positively affect the current environmental problems. Nor can it make the claim that it promotes environmental sustainability and regeneration.

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The non-profit Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems published a peer-reviewed study titled Climate Impacts of Cultured Meat and Beef Cattle. The study was conducted by John Lynch and Raymond Pierrehumbert of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department of Physics at the University of Oxford.

The 3 greenhouse gases (GHG) are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). In the study, they were able to reach the following conclusion:

“Cattle systems are associated with the production of all three GHGs above, including significant emissions of CH4, while cultured meat emissions are almost entirely CO2 from energy generation.

Emissions of Greenhouse Gases by Sectors

Under continuous high global consumption, cultured meat results in less warming than cattle initially, but this gap narrows in the long term and in some cases cattle production causes far less warming, as CH4 emissions do not accumulate, unlike CO2.

We then model a decline in meat consumption to more sustainable levels following high consumption, and show that although cattle systems generally result in greater peak warming than cultured meat, the warming effect declines and stabilizes under the new emission rates of cattle systems, while the CO2 based warming from cultured meat persists and accumulates even under reduced consumption, again overtaking cattle production in some scenarios.”

We conclude that cultured meat is not prima facie climatically superior to cattle; its relative impact instead depends on the availability of decarbonized energy generation and the specific production systems that are realized. 

Additionally, there is no scientific-based evidence that it’s healthier than eating real grass-fed meat or pasture-raised chicken.

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