The world’s 13 largest dairy farms emit the same amount of greenhouse gasses as the entire nation of the United Kingdom, the sixth largest economy in the world. The “Milking the Planet” report was compiled by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and found that the total greenhouse gas emissions at these 13 dairy farms—which primarily included nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide emitted from the cows themselves—had risen by 11 percent from 2015 to 2017, despite global government commitments to reduce emissions made under the Paris Agreement in 2015. This increase represents the equivalent of 32.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and equates to the pollution stemming from 6.9 million cars driven in one year.
The new report is a follow-up to a 2018 report compiled by IATP in partnership with nonprofit GRAIN which found that the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Fonterra, and Dairy Farmers of America) collectively produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the top three oil companies (ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell).
“For a real climate revolution in the agriculture sector, governments have to transform farm and climate policy in a way that shifts power away from these corporate drivers,” the report’s author Shalafi Sharma states. “They must be courageous enough to enact policy change towards agroecological systems that empower rural producers to do the right thing for their families, communities, and the planet.”