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Organic food is worse for the climate than non-organic food

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It takes more land to farm organic food than it does non-organic food, which increases its impact on the environment.

ORGANIC FOOD HAS A larger impact on the climate than conventional food because of the greater area of land required to farm it.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature found that farming organic food can result in much higher emissions than non-organic farming. According to a press release from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, researchers discovered that farming organic peas resulted in a 50 percent larger climate impact than farming non-organic peas.

Additionally, some organic food has an even greater climate impact. Organic Swedish winter wheat results in a 70 percent increased impact. The reason behind this is that much less organic food can be grown in an area than conventional food. The press release states that “organic food is so much worse for the climate [because] the yields per hectare are much lower,” mostly due to the fact that fertilizers aren’t being used.

This results in much more land required to produce the same amount of food, thus worsening its effect on the environment.

“The greater land-use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” Stefan Wirsenius co-author of the study said. “The world’s food production is governed by international trade, so how we farm in Sweden influences deforestation in the tropics. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to bigger deforestation elsewhere in the world.”

It’s not just vegetables and grains, organic meat and dairy products are also worse for the environment than their non-organic counterparts. Producing organic meat and milk requires the use of organic feeds, which take up more land than non-organic feed.

Although Wirsenius explained this concept, researchers did not conduct specific calculations on meat and milk.


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