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Science & Technology

Is lab-grown meat environmentally friendly ?

February 19, 2019 | Comment icon 12 comments



Could we all end up eating lab-grown meat ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Alexbrn
A new study has indicated that growing meat in a laboratory may actually make global warming worse.
The world's first lab-grown burger, which was developed by a team in the Netherlands and cost a whopping $325,000 to produce, was seen as a major milestone in the development of a new and sustainable food source that could help feed our planet's ever-growing population.

But while the potential benefits are many, some scientists have called in to question the idea that growing meat in a lab rather than rearing cattle will ultimately benefit the environment.

Large numbers of cows contribute to global warming thanks to the amount of methane they produce, however it takes energy to produce lab-grown meat too and this can, depending on how it is generated, release a lot of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere.

"Per ton emitted, methane has a much larger warming impact than carbon dioxide," said study co-author Prof Raymond Pierrehumbert. "However, it only remains in the atmosphere for about twelve years, whereas carbon dioxide persists and accumulates for millennia."
"This means methane's impact on long-term warming is not cumulative and is impacted greatly if emissions increase or decrease over time."

The researchers determined that over a long period of time, growing meat in a lab may in fact contribute more to global warming than rearing large numbers of cows.

According to lead author Dr John Lynch, it all comes down to how the energy is produced.

"The climate impacts of cultured meat production will depend on what level of sustainable energy generation can be achieved, as well as the efficiency of future culture processes," he said.

"If the lab-grown meat is quite energy intensive to produce then they could end up being worse for the climate than cows are."

Source: BBC News | Comments (12)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by cyclopes500 3 years ago
Livestock live in fields. Why not stick wind turbines in them to counterbalance the emissions? The power generated goes to the farm and to the local population. Also what about overhead solar panel systems with gaps between each panel to let the sunlight through to the ground. Lastly I've wondered about sticking hollow cables across the fields, and sliding down them vertical wind turbines in a horizontal ladder or stepped configuration. Each has a generator at either end, one is the stator the other the armature. One turbine turns upwards and the other downwards. That way like two trains headi... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
What we need is some fresh lab grown brains ... glow in the dark brains .... now there's a thought ~
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 3 years ago
I'm sure the meat packers union and cattle ranchers paid for this somehow. To solve the methane issues with cows, all we need to do is put domes over all the grass field where cattle eat and catch all the methane and use it for fuel.  Of course that will be expensive. Along the same lines, did anyone see or know about the solid fuel that all you need to do is add water or something like that. 60minutes had this on and I missed it and can't find anything on it on the net.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ogbin 3 years ago
And just so we can see them glow in the dark we will glass skulls just like the aliens in the movie 'Mars attacks'
Comment icon #7 Posted by DanL 3 years ago
I guess they don't know that Buffalo farted too.
Comment icon #8 Posted by EnderOTD 3 years ago
Back to horse and buggy and wax candles.  Heck skip the horse and hire a rickshaw to avoid the animal rights crowd. Maybe we just walk to avoid the human rights crowd as well.  Looking forward to no planes, cars and motorized transportation to give farting cows an opportunity to thrive!
Comment icon #9 Posted by EnderOTD 3 years ago
Yak yak, yaka yake a yak.
Comment icon #10 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
Let's give it a go ...    
Comment icon #11 Posted by Big Jim 3 years ago
First they came for farting cows, next they'll come for Grandpa.
Comment icon #12 Posted by and then 3 years ago
They'd do well to remember that Grandpa might be packin'   


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