Carbon footprint quadrupled in 50 years in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Carbon footprint - Livestock Farming in Spain

MADRID – The carbon footprint of food in Spain has multiplied by 3.9 in total between 1960 and 2010 and by 2.5 per capita. According to Europapress this is evident from a study done by the Royal Academy of Technology. 

The research is entitled: ‘Green gas emissions in the agri-food system and the carbon footprint of food in Spain´. The ecological footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted and carbon captured in the production of a product or service in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2). 

carbon footprint

The study analyses the evolution, since the 20th century, of the emissions of the entire Spanish agri-food system. Resulting in emissions formed by activities related to the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food. This is responsible for 27% of the human-induced worldwide emissions of GHG. 

The research examines the environmental impact of this important sector on the Spanish economy. And, as such aims to identify measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agri-food sector comprises all areas involved in the production, distribution and consumption of food and the relationships between them.

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Livestock farming 

The report shows emissions from livestock farming have increased from 8 to 75 million tons of CO2 per year since the last century. However, the research also indicates 81% of emissions come from the production of food of animal origin consumed by the Spanish population. This totals 1.6 tons of CO2 per capita per year, versus 0. 4 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from the production of foodstuffs of vegetable origin. 

Livestock farming - carbon footprint

According to the researchers, the study shows how important matters such as emissions from livestock farming are expressed in figures. As such these are very relevant to the final footprint as a whole. Moreover, this quantification indicates the great mitigation potential in the Spanish agri-food sector. Climate mitigation refers to reducing human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. 

Therefore, based on the figures quoted, the agri-food sector has, in theory, a great capacity to adapt to climate change and resource scarcity. 

Furthermore, the study shows that greenhouse gas emissions here have increased from 18% to 43%. This is with regard to the post-production stages of the agri-food chain in Spain.


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