Exclusive: Study released at Cop28 misused research to underestimate impact of cutting meat eating, say academics

A flagship UN report on livestock emissions is facing calls for retraction from two key experts it cited who say that the paper “seriously distorted” their work.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) misused their research to underestimate the potential of reduced meat intake to cut agricultural emissions, according to a letter sent to the FAO by the two academics, which the Guardian has seen.

Paul Behrens, an associate professor at Leiden University and Matthew Hayek, an assistant professor at New York University, both accuse the FAO study of systematic errors, poor framing, and highly inappropriate use of source data.

Hayek told the Guardian: “The FAO’s errors were multiple, egregious, conceptual and all had the consequence of reducing the emissions mitigation possibilities from dietary change far below what they should be. None of the mistakes had the opposite effect.”

  • @Gigan
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    42 months ago

    If only there was a way to capture the methane from live-stock and use it as energy. Most natural gas is just methane anyway.

    • @Aremel
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      92 months ago

      I can think of a couple ways, but whether or not they’d work is unclear or if they’d even be ethical or practical.

      Best one I got is to keep the cows indoors and collect the methane from the internal atmosphere. Make the roof of said building out of glass or some other clear material so that the cows and their grazing ground has access to sunlight. But then you’d need to regularly clean the roof…

      Not to mention having to maintain an HVAC system that siphons all the air (or maybe just the top layer?) of the interior space and somehow separates the methane from the myriad other gases in the space.

      Sounds plausible but impractical.

      • @MotoAsh
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        102 months ago

        I thin the real answer is lab grown meat, but humans are too dogmatic and stupid to simply accept a solution to a problem…

        • @I_Fart_Glitter
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          62 months ago

          It’s on its way! One brand is FDA approved, waiting on USDA approval. The delay is more about necessary materials not being available at scale than consumer opinion. Mixing lab grown animal fat with vegetable protein will help with the initial cost prohibitive issues, and apparently tastes great as a sausage type product.

          https://www.bonappetit.com/story/lab-grown-meat

          • @MotoAsh
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            52 months ago

            Meanwhile some states are pushing to ban lab grown meat before it’s even become a product that can be tested as an actual product heading to market.

            • @I_Fart_Glitter
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              42 months ago

              Yeah, but it’s the same states that are trying to ban solar panels because “muh coal!!” They slow progress, but they won’t stop it.

              • @MotoAsh
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                42 months ago

                Yea, I’d rather we kick them in the balls so they stop slowing good things down while the world burns, but maybe I’m the only one who sees the benefits of a world without contemptable morons in charge.

          • @MotoAsh
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            12 months ago

            Humans are omnivores and many WILL eat meat. Only a moron attempts to force people to not do something completely and utterly natural, because only a moron would think that’s a solution.

        • @davepleasebehave
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          22 months ago

          the real answer is to just start a.plant based diet which already has palatable meat alternatives. why bother waiting for lab grown meat?

          • @MotoAsh
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            2 months ago

            Because most people don’t WANT a vegetarian diet, and forcing people to do things is both stupid and doesn’t work. Therefore, a meat option that’s not terrible is the obvious correct path forward.

            • @davepleasebehave
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              -12 months ago

              I never said I would force anyone. that seems to be an issue on your side.

              I’d be happy to talk about plant diets if you are interested.

              the article makes it clear that it is a significant way to reduce greenhouse gases. the extra land could also be reforested. just two environmental advantages.

              • @MotoAsh
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                62 months ago

                Lab grown meat also frees up pastures, because a petri dish doesn’t need to graze.

                • @davepleasebehave
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                  02 months ago

                  that’s true. and if it is really viable then that’s great. in the meantime, you could consider eating plants

            • @davepleasebehave
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              2 months ago

              if eating meat is vital to your personality then you should continue.

              The implications of this article is that big corporations are manipulating science and society in order to sell something that is most probably dangerous to the environment.

      • oo1
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        32 months ago

        Yeah, Tina Turner tried this but Mel Gibson came along and ruined it.