Look up what drives deforestation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the results are many: trade with countries like China and the EU, mining to satisfy growing demand for gold and other metals, speculation and land grabbing tied to U.S. universities and pension funds. While all of these are factors, one of the biggest drivers of greenhouse gas emissions in the region — and its best hope for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 — remains the food system. Food production and deforestation are responsible for almost half of greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and meat plays an outsized role. More than 77% of agricultural land globally is used for livestock, either for grazing or feed production. And food demand is only expected to rise by more than 50% by 2050. In Latin America, cattle ranching is especially important: the region is home to 67% of beef cattle and 76% of dairy cattle. Beef production is expected to increase by 125% by 2050 to sustain meat demand. Food production is an enormously important for the economy of Latin America and the Caribbean. Commodities like soy and beef are the main and often most lucrative exports for many countries, and the sector employs roughly 15% of people in the region. But at the same time, the region suffers from both increasing rates of food insecurity alongside rising rates of obesity, especially among children. Cows linger on the shore of the Rio Coco in La Mosquitia’s Río Plátano…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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