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Meat and Global Warming: Impact Models, Mitigation Approaches and Ethical Aspects

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In this paper, I investigate the ethical problem of mitigation of climate change, to the extent this change is caused by animal production. First, I give an overview of various views of the nature and scale of the impact of animal production on climate change: the life cycle model, the complex impact model and the additional emissions model. Second, I analyse various approaches to mitigation of climate change to the extent it is caused by animal production, such as different technological solutions and more or less radical proposals for reduction of livestock numbers. Third, I carry out a preliminary investigation of ethical aspects to be taken into consideration in assessing the mitigation approaches: intergenerational justice, intragenerational justice, animal welfare, potential, and feasibility. Finally, I propose a kind of 'contraction and convergence' policy, i.e., a policy of reducing meat consumption to a certain level in developed countries while allowing people in developing countries to increase their consumption up to this level.
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Keywords: climate change; ethics; meat; mitigation; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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