Dr Graeme Coles, a Canterbury-based nutrition scientist, has calculated that someone getting their minimum essential amino acid requirements from plant-based foods excretes more climate-damaging material than the same person getting them from animal products.
“Avoiding animal protein in the diet means excreting 32g/day more nitrous oxides than people on omnivorous diets” he says.
Nitrous oxide is very potent greenhouse gas so that is equivalent to the emissions associated with two return journeys annually from New Zealand to London”.
Plant-derived protein is of markedly lower nutritional value than animal-derived protein because of its low content of essential amino acids. Plants also have “antinutritional factors” – the nutrients appear to be present but can’t be accessed by the digestive system.
In order to try and overcome this, humans apply treatments such as soaking, heating, acidification, or pulverisation. Treatment takes time and energy, which increases the greenhouse gases associated with the food compared to meat and dairy based proteins which are more readily available.
Government propaganda continues to attribute excessive blame to meat and dairy products for global warming. This is despite the science being very clear that the carbon footprint calculators that use the CO2 equivalent system to quantify emissions are junk tools because the CO2 equivalent system fails to take in to account the cyclical nature of methane emissions. Now also it appears the extra nitrous oxide emissions associated with consuming plant based diets has not been factored in.
Farmers are suffering at the hands of fools. The Government has made a complete hash of how it treats biological emissions.
Biological processes and their impacts are complex with many interacting factors, all of which must be taken in to account when making decisions about climate policies and actions. The Government has shown little interest in doing this and the media continues to refuse to allow any questioning of government propaganda about the harmful impact of animal protein production. The findings of Dr Coles is just another example of how Government propaganda has no scientific integrity.
Adopting the CO2 equivalent (carbon) system to compare emissions from plant and animal proteins instead of quantifying the real impact of real greenhouse gas emissions, and ignoring the many interacting factors of the biological processes involved, such as the extra nitrous oxide emissions produced when digesting plant based protein and soil carbon losses and all the other factors, is junk science.
This junk science around comparisons between plant and animal protein is included in the Government’s new school global warming curriculum.