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Can Lab-Grown Burgers Exacerbate Climate Change?

Can Lab-Grown Burgers Exacerbate Climate Change?


Can Lab-Grown Burgers Exacerbate Climate Change?

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)

Companies across the world are moving quickly to bring to the market hamburgers and other meat products that are grown from animal cells in a lab. In fact, this month, Israeli-based company, Future Meat Technologies, raised 14 million to build a production plant for its cultured meat products. Hence, joining several dozen other start-ups poised to launch their first commercial products within the next couple of years. Lab-grown meat will replicate the taste and consistency of traditional meat.

Moreover, many expect that this move to the lab will bring about positive changes, especially in the minds of the people concerned about the role land-based animal agriculture has in accelerating climate change. Nevertheless, as lab-grown meat is becoming extremely popular, a significant amount of the population is debating the health implications of this alternative. Some researchers speculate that depending on the efficiency of the production process, the rise of the cultured meat industry could actually make climate change worse than traditional beef production.

Another pressing issue that has cropped up is the impact of carbon pollution versus methane gas pollution. According to environmental researchers, ab meat doesn’t solve anything from an environmental perspective, since the energy emissions are so high. Additionally, a huge amount of money is dedicated to these meat labs, but even with that amount of money, the product still has a humungous carbon footprint.

In fact, many organisations are now beginning to roll out their lab-grown meat products. It is estimated that these products will be rolled out within this year. So far, the U.S. alone has at least nine cell-culturing companies out of the several dozen worldwide. The leading industries plan to release the first products, including ground beef and chicken nuggets, by the end of this year. Proponents of cultured meat say that producing it in a lab helps preserve endangered species and other animals, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and significantly curbs land and water use. Most cultured meat start-ups boast a firm commitment to protecting the environment. Therefore, this debate is one that will become a hot topic in the near future.