Experts Criticize UN FAO Report on Livestock Emissions; Call for Retraction

A coalition of more than 100 academic researchers and related organizations is urging the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to retract a recently released report on the relationship between livestock consumption and climate change.

The 78 civil society organizations and 23 academic and political leaders have expressed serious concerns that the findings of the “Pathways Towards Lower Emissions” report were not fully vetted under standard scientific protocols or fact-checking. In a letter to FAO Director-General Dr. Qu Dongyu, they claim that the estimated emissions from livestock were significantly understated, ranging from six to 40 times lower than the scientific consensus. They also allege that the “pathways and recommendations” in the report were influenced by pressure on FAO employees from “vested interests” within the livestock lobby.

The letter contends that FAO included “significant errors and inappropriate sources of evidence” in its claims on greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that scientific rigor was “conspicuously and egregiously absent throughout the report.” The experts are calling for an overhaul of the FAO’s internal review protocols to ensure improved methodological rigor in future reports. Additionally, they demand the publication of a full methodology, along with a list of authors and reviewers, in all future FAO reports.