Washington: An international team of researchers has estimated the amount of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) that countries release into the atmosphere when producing meat from livestock.
They assigned the emissions to the countries where the meat is ultimately consumed.
The embodied, or "hidden", emissions in beef, chicken and pork have increased by 19 percent over the past 20 years, found the study.
"Our analysis of livestock emissions embodied in the international trade of meat highlights the regional variation in emissions intensities and quantifies a significant barrier to effective regional and national policies regulating livestock emissions,” said Dario Caro, from Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, US.
Previous studies determined the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions embodied in products traded internationally, but less attention was paid to other greenhouse gases such as CH4 and N2O.
For their study, researchers analysed data from 237 countries.
Future advancements should therefore take into account the total production process and transportation, including CO2 emissions as well as land, water and energy use occurring in the supply chain, said the team.
The results appeared in the journal Environmental Research Letters.