In certain places throughout the world, grocery stores produce an incredible array of colors, even during winter, when it is not likely for those foods to grow outside.
However, this year-round variation has a substantial cost on the planet, with new research finding that ‘food miles’ result in 19 percent of all food emissions, which is three times more than formerly thought.
“Our study estimates global food systems, due to transport, production, and land-use change, contribute about 30 percent of total human-produced greenhouse gas emissions. So, food transport – at around six percent – is a sizable proportion of overall emissions,” explains the study’s lead author, from the University of Sydney environmental modeling researcher -Mengyu Li.
“Food transport emissions are nearly half of direct emissions from road vehicles.”
“Although carbon emissions associated with food production are well documented,” the team writes in their recent paper, “the carbon footprint of the global trade of food, accounting for the entire food supply chain, has not been comprehensively quantified.
The researchers demonstrate that consumers have the maximum chance of causing extensive change. Therefore, for those of us in high-earning countries, which are separately choosing the local or seasonal option is one of the best paths forward.
This is particularly significant with fruit and vegetables, as they need to be chilled to be sent throughout the world, resulting in even more emissions.