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The main thrust here seems to be that FAO and USDA estimates for the size of agriculture’s GHG generation are way off — but this completely misses the fact that ALL of the estimates people use for GHG impacts are likely to be way off.

Here’s a study that used in-field measurements of methane leaking from US fertilizer manufacturing plants that showed that EPA estimates of methane impact from the fertilizer manufacturing industry were off by a factor of 100 — meaning that the fertilizer industry generates more methane each year than EPA estimates for all US manufacturing combined. See https://ens-newswire.com/us-fertilizer-plants-emit-100-times-the-methane-reported/.

The concrete industry is widely reported to be the source of 6 percent of GHG generation worldwide — but I have had conversations with industry insiders who say that they know of individual concrete manufacturers who account for 6 percent of worldwide GHG production by themselves.

Final point: While cows and other ruminant livestock may account for more than 10% of global GHG production, the US industrial ag results look quite different, coming in under 4% of US GHG production. Some of that is due to the efficiency of the US production system; some of it is due to the US having so many other sources of GHG production. But you can’t just wish away food production — you have to replace it with something else for people to eat that meets their needs. When you account for the climate impact of producing that replacement food, you get a net climate impact of beef production in the US of around 2%. That is worth paying attention to — but if Newsweek says it only gets coverage in 7% of the news stories (presumably US news), I have to ask if that’s truly out of whack. Maybe it’s really over-represented by more than three-fold, and we instead should be paying more attention to the large companies which are generating so much GHGs instead.

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