How big the carbon footprint is

Image by monikasmigielska from Pixabay

Arla UK’s report on carbon footprint data from 2,000 farms in the UK makes for heartening reading for us in the industry. British dairy farmers produce milk with carbon emissions around half the global average, which is a statistic to be proud of. The company notes that the farm management versus the type of farm has the greatest impact on what outputs it produces.

That being said, there is so much work to be done globally. Greta Thunberg, the environmental activist, has accused the UK of “creative climate accounting” when it is discussing being a world leader on reducing climate emissions. She noted the statistics do not include the UK’s share of emissions from international aviation, shipping and imported goods.

She was speaking at the launch of a Unicef report showing a billion children in 33 mostly African low-emission countries faced extreme weather and poverty. The UN report found virtually no child will escape the impact of global warming. In the first index of its kind, Unicef found almost all the world’s 2.2 billion children are exposed to at least one climate or environmental risk.

And, when one looks at emissions, the UK is a small player, while many countries in the world still have very low per capita CO2 emissions. In many of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – such as Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic – the average footprint is around 0.1 tonnes per year. That’s more than 160 times lower than the US, Australia and Canada. In just 2.3 days the average American or Australian emits as much as the average Malian or Nigerien in a year. China emits 27 per cent of global carbon emissions amounting to nearly 10 billion, with the US in second at 18 per cent. (

So, while the UK can be smug about reducing emissions, it does not come down to just one small country. However, anything we can do to reduce them is to be applauded, and Arla’s indexes are just one of the things that dairy is doing to help.

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