Climate factors of foods

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Global Warming Potential

The Global Warming Potential is an index that measures the radiative forcing of a unit mass of a given well-mixed greenhouse gas in the present-day atmosphere integrated over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of carbon dioxide.[1]

Table 1. Global warming potential for gases relevant to agriculture.

Global warming potential for gases(relative to CO2)
ObsGreenhouse gas20100500Description
1Nitrous oxide289298153

Food consumption patterns and climate change

Table 2. Greenhouse gas emissions from farm to table for 22 food items commonly consumed in Sweden.

Climate factors of foods(kg CO2 equivalents/kg product)
ObsFoodCarbon dioxideNitrous oxideMethaneTotalDescription
1Carrots: domestic, fresh0.380.040.00.42
2Potatoes: cooked, domestic0.400.060.00.45
4Whole wheat: domestic, cooked0.540.080.00.63
5Apples: fresh, overseas by boat0.800.020.00.82
6Soybeans: cooked, overseas by boat0.920.0 0.00.92
7Milk: domestic, 4% fat0.450.140.451.0
8Sugar: domestic1.
9Italian pasta: cooked0.960.120.01.1
10Oranges: fresh, overseas by boat1.
11Rice: cooked0.590.210.521.3
12Green beans: South Europe, boiled1.
13Herring: domestic, cooked1.
14Vegetables: frozen, overseas by boat, boiled2.20.050.0 2.3
15Eggs: Swedish, cooked1.70.740.042.5
16Rapeseed oil: from Europe1.
17Chicken: fresh, domestic, cooked3.
18Cod: domestic, cooked8.
19Pork: domestic, fresh, cooked3.
20Cheese: domestic5.01.34.511
21Tropical fruit: fresh, overseas by plane110.230.011
22Beef: domestic, fresh, cooked6.96.61730

Values represent kg CO2 equivalents over a 100-y time period.


  1. Annika Carlsson-Kanyama and Alejandro D Gonzalez (2009)[1]