Vegetarian diets have a great impact on reducing meat production and ultimately reducing carbon emissions. Recently, some developed countries were able to take positive steps towards this process by producing laboratory meat.
Mohammad Reza Ghasemi, PhD in Mechanics in Biosystems, told Sina Press about the importance and role of the food industry in carbon emissions: "The food industry is not very energetic compared to the steel or cement industry; However, due to the high per capita consumption of food products, in other words, since each person in the world is directly involved in it, its low consumption has a large figure in energy consumption. In an interview with Sina Press, Mohammad Reza Ghasemi, a PhD in mechanics in the field of biosystems, pointed out the importance and role of the food industry in carbon emissions and said: "The food industry is not very energy efficient compared to the steel or cement industry;" But per capita consumption in food production is high and all the people of the world deal with it directly. For this reason, its low usage rate has a large figure in energy consumption.
Referring to the energy consumption sectors in the food industry, he said: "First, I would like to point out an important issue: we need to know exactly which energy consumption sector in the food industry is included?"
It is an accepted fact that food production emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other parts.
Ghasemi added: "Agricultural activities and meat production are the main reason for the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere."
In fact, if the world is looking at the food industry in terms of energy, the main goal is to pay attention to meat products and then agricultural activities.
According to this expert, carbon emissions through agricultural activities by humans began ten thousand years ago, but in ancient times there was no other intensifying process; For this reason, the chemical conditions of the Earth's atmosphere were balanced.
He added: "In the past, nature adapted to the amount of carbon emissions that entered the atmosphere through agriculture; For this reason, there was no interference in weather conditions for thousands of years, but with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, this balance was upset.
Referring to other energy sectors in the food industry, Ghasemi said: "Transportation in the food industry is another process that consumes a lot of carbon into the atmosphere after meat production."
Since our country has a variety of climates, agricultural and livestock products are also diverse in different parts of our country, so different food items in the context of transportation must be distributed to all parts of the country. This consumes a lot of energy.
In fact, transportation in the food industry is considered as one of the most important emitters of carbon not only in Iran but all over the world.
According to this expert, the technologies used in the production and packaging of the food industry are the third cause of carbon emissions.
Our country emits less carbon to the atmosphere in this field compared to developed societies, because the packaging process in these countries is more extensive than in Iran.
Most developed countries distribute almost everything in the form of packaging, while this trend does not yet exist in Iran, and maybe in the next few decades we will follow in the footsteps of these countries and offer every product in the form of packaging.
In response to the question that if the people of the world use more plant foods and reduce the consumption of meat, can a fundamental step be taken to reduce carbon emissions from the food industry? He told Sina Press:
This process is one of the solutions that have been considered in the world and some actions have been taken in this regard.
In general, on the one hand, dietary changes have a great impact on meat production and ultimately reduce carbon emissions. On the other hand, some developed countries have been able to take positive steps towards this process by producing laboratory meat, and in the near future all the world will go this way.
Another issue that needs to be addressed is the issue of food preservation. In this part, cooling and heating materials are very important, because in this process a lot of energy is consumed and a lot of greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere.
Referring to the measures taken in Iran to reduce carbon emissions in the field of food industry, he said: "We have one percent of the world area and one percent of the world's population belongs to us, so in terms of area and population, we are a balanced country; But it must be said that we produce more carbon than these components.
According to Ghasemi; In Iran, while we have half a percent of the world's agricultural production, we produce two percent of the world's carbon. This means that we emit four times as much production and twice as much carbon as our population, which will ultimately be to our detriment.
"According to the process and decisions taken by the international community to reduce carbon emissions, in the near future each country will have to pay taxes based on the amount of carbon it emits," he told Sina Press. If this process is implemented, our country will suffer; but we have not yet thought about the carbon released into the atmosphere.
Pointing out that on the one hand we have not taken any action to reduce carbon emissions, Ghasemi added: "On the other hand, we repeat the mistakes of other countries in the field of emissions."
According to this expert, in most developed countries of the world, the issue of greenhouse gas emissions is very vital and important. We have to expand our industry, but this should not be done at any cost, and we should not deal with the current problems of these countries in the next three to four decades. In fact, we must achieve growth and development in a way that does not lead to the recurrence of problems.