we disassemble the report on which the vegan campaign is based

Until December 6, the citizens of Madrid will be able to see a gigantic canvas in the capital with the following message: “a hamburger pollutes more than your car.” This is the campaign of Heura, a vegan company, whose objective is to make society aware of the negative impact of livestock. But is eating a hamburger more polluting than driving a car?

The answer is simple: no. Certainly not according to the actual report on which the campaign is based. The data also does not coincide with those provided by the Ministry of Ecological Transition on the ‘advance of greenhouse gas emissions corresponding to the year 2019’. In Spain, the sector with the most weight in total emissions is transport with 29%, while livestock ranks fourth with 12.5%.

The startup Heura maintains that «with this canvas we want to promote a debate on the way we eat since according to the FAO, livestock is responsible for 18% of CO2 emissions, more than the entire combined transport sector ”. The company has based the data from its study on a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow, or the long shadow of livestock, published in 2006.

This report shows that livestock produces 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than the entire global transport sector. A scientific study with skewed data. So much so that one of its authors, Dr. Pierre Gerber, and the studio director himself, Henning Steinfeld, they had to retract their conclusions.

In an interview at the BBCDr. Pierre Gerber admitted: “We have added everything up for meat emissions, and we have not done the same for transport.” FAO was forced to lower the figure for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 18% to 14.5%. As if this were not enough, in 2008 the director of the report published in Thomson Reuters: «We cannot compare the 14% of the transport sector calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the 14.5% of livestock using the life cycle approach ”.

Report of the Ministry of Ecological Transition

The report of the Ministry of Ecological Transition on the ‘progress of greenhouse gas emissions corresponding to the year 2019’, would ruin, at least in Spain, this advertising campaign. In fact, transport is the only subsector within the energy sector, which has a slight increase (+ 0.7%) in emissions compared to 2018, mainly due to the increase in emissions from road transport.

Source: Ministry of Ecological Transition. ‘The progress of greenhouse gas emissions corresponding to the year 2019’

The 2019 data states that «the sector with the most weight in total emissions is transport with 29%, followed by industry with 20.6%, electricity generation with 13.5%, agriculture and livestock as a whole 12.5%, fuel consumption in the Residential, Commercial and Institutional sectors 8 , 8%, and, finally, the residuals with 4.3% ».