A) One tenth
C) The third party
The International Reference Center for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) has calculated, in 2020, that the average Quebecer buys 1236 kg of food per year. This represents annual emissions of 2.5 tonnes of “CO2 equivalent” (CO2eq), or a quarter of the individual GHG emissions of an average Quebecer each year. This portrait is accurate because it takes into consideration the entire food chain: from agricultural production to transport, including packaging and food waste. This is called life cycle analysis. An individual’s outcome can, however, differ significantly depending on age, sex and diet.
B) Ovo-lacto vegetarian: i.e. a diet without meat or fish, but which includes eggs and milk
Science is unanimous on the fact that beef is the food that produces the most GHG emissions. Cows and bulls are ruminants and therefore their digestive process releases a lot of methane into the atmosphere. But the other animal proteins are not to be neglected. According to a study published in the scholarly journal Nature Food in September 2021, globally, global GHG emissions from animal-based foods are twice those from plant-based foods. This large study quantified emissions from the production and consumption of 171 crops and 16 animal products in more than 200 countries between 2007 and 2013.
Cheese has a substantially larger carbon footprint than chicken. For example, in France, cheddar cheese emits 5.94 kg CO2eq per “kilogram (kg) of product” compared to 1.84 kg CO2eq per kilogram of chicken. These data come from Agribalyse, a public database developed by France’s Ecological Transition Agency and the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. They take into consideration all stages of the product life cycle. These data point in the same direction as a large meta-analysis of 1530 studies published in Science in 2018. According to this scientific article, taken on a global scale, cheese has a carbon footprint of 23.88 kg eqCO2 per kilogram compared to 9.87 kg CO2eq per kilogram for poultry meat. How to explain this large discrepancy between the two datasets? Deforestation, use of chemical fertilizers, agricultural machinery, productivity of fields and animals: agricultural systems vary enormously from one country to another. The Science study consolidated data from 38,700 farms and 1,600 processors, packers and retailers across the world. The authors (Poore
A) Lamb skewer
B) Pork skewer
C) They are roughly equivalent
According to calculations made by Agribalyse, a raw lamb skewer is responsible for the release into the atmosphere of 52.03 kg eqCO2 per kilogram compared to 6.95 kg eqCO2 per kilogram of raw pork. Like the cow, the sheep is a ruminant that emits methane during its digestion, which is not the case for pigs. The trend is the same if we look at global data. The meta-analysis published in Science measured that 1 kg of “lamb and mutton” emits an average of 39.72 kg CO2eq compared to 12.31 kg CO2eq per kilogram for pork. In Quebec, the agricultural union of Pork Breeders calculated that in 2019, GHG emissions represented 3.70 kg eqCO2 per kilogram of pork. The figure takes into consideration all the stages of agricultural production: from the cultivation of grains for the feed to the exit of the slaughterhouse, but it excludes the rest of the chain such as transport. It should be noted that Quebec produces more pork than it consumes: approximately 70% of production is exported. Conversely, in 2020, approximately half of Quebec’s lamb consumption was local. The rest came mainly from New Zealand or Australia, which weighs on its balance sheet.
C) Their impact is comparable
Bananas emit about three times more GHGs than oranges. According to the French Agribalyse database, the carbon footprint of an orange is 0.64 kg CO2eq per “kilogram of product”, while a banana emits 2.17 kg CO2eq per “kilogram of product”. The meta-analysis published in Science points out that on a planetary scale, citrus fruits emit on average 0.39 kg eqCO2 per kilogram and bananas, 0.86 kg eqCO2 per kilogram.
B) Dark Chocolate
Touted for its antioxidant properties, dark chocolate is the treat with the heaviest carbon footprint. According to the Agribalyse database, “70% cocoa dark chocolate” emits 17.11 kg CO2e per kilogram of chocolate. This is far ahead of “gummy candies” (1.57 kg CO2eq per kilogram) and “standard potato chips” (1.54 kg CO2eq per kilogram). The data from Science’s meta-analysis is even worse: 46.65 kg CO2eq per kilogram of “dark chocolate”. Globally, this footprint is larger than that of dairy cattle (33.30 kg CO2eq per kilogram of milk) and coffee (28.53 kg CO2eq per kilogram of coffee). About two-thirds of the cocoa consumed worldwide is grown in West African countries. Cocoa cultivation is however one of the main causes of deforestation in this region. When trees are cut down to make way for agriculture, the trees rot or are burned. Instead of being carbon sinks, trees release it into the atmosphere.
A) Oat drink
B) Almond drink
C) Plain soy beverage
D) Their impact is comparable
In terms of climate change, their impact is roughly comparable. Fighting plant-based beverages: plain almond beverage has a slightly smaller footprint (0.37 kg CO2eq per kilogram of product) than plain soy beverage (0.44 kg CO2eq per kilogram of product) and plain oats (0.54 kg CO2eq per kilogram of product). In contrast, the almond drink has come under fire in recent years for its other environmental impacts. It is a production that requires astronomical quantities of water in addition to requiring the spreading of pesticides that harm the pollinating insects necessary for their cultivation.
A) Changing our farming practices
B) Decrease consumption of animal protein
Better manure management, change in animal feed, less use of nitrogen fertilizers, better use of pasture, higher yields on the same acreage, heating greenhouses with hydroelectricity instead of oil: the list measures to reduce GHG emissions in agriculture is very long. The EAT-Lancet Commission – a famous report by international experts published in 2019 – attempted to determine how to healthily feed 10 billion humans by 2050 without destroying the planet. She concluded that changes in agricultural practices could reduce agricultural GHGs in 2050 by 10%, while an increase in the adoption of predominantly plant-based diets could reduce emissions by up to 80%. .