Comparison of GHG Production From Beef and Cultured Meat


A research group at the Oxford Martin School determined that cultured meat is not appreciably more beneficial to the environment than conventional beef production. Various studies in the past have converted methane and nitrous oxide emissions by cattle to a carbon dioxide equivalent that is now considered to be unrealistic.

Although more potent than carbon dioxide, both methane and nitrous oxide have relatively shorter lifetimes (12 and 100 years respectively) compared to carbon dioxide which persists in the atmosphere. The potential warming impact of the three gasses from both beef and cell culture were compared in a projection extending through 1,000 years. Under continuous high consumption, cultured meat generates less warming than cattle over the intermediate term. As methane and nitrous oxide do not accumulate to the extent of carbon dioxide, the effect is less pronounced than with cell culture, which generates carbon dioxide.

The research study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems concluded that cultured meat is not essentially superior to production of beef from cattle, negating the claimed environmental benefits from cultured meat.