Knowledge for better food systems

Wise Moves: exploring the relationship between food, transport and CO2

The report, Wise Moves: exploring the relationship between food, transport and CO2, Tara Garnett, Transport 2000, 2003, considers the relationship between food miles and CO2 emissions within the supply chain, examining whether measures to shorten transport distance lead to greater or fewer CO2 emissions within the supply chain as a whole. Drawing upon a number of food studies, it concludes that the food chain is responsible for over 20% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

The report finds some correlation between cuts in food miles, and in overall food chain energy use but emphasised that exceptions also occur, such as with unseasonal energy-intensive UK 'hot-housed' produce.

It concludes that emissions at other stages, such as agriculture or manufacturing, also demand urgent attention, in addition to transport, as does a shift to less energy intensive, more seasonal ways of eating.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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