Evaluating the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture Products : a Meta-Analysis of Various Agricultural Life Cycle Assessments
The purpose of this Senior Individualized Project was to investigate the environmental impact of various agricultural products. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) for the subject products were collected and compared using an analytical technique called meta-analysis. The LCA evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of an agricultural product's life cycle: agriculture, production, packaging, transportation, retail, consumption, and waste. Using meta-analysis, the data from each LCA can be analyzed together. Comparing the data from independently conducted LCAs allowed for the identification of one specific life cycle stage that resulted in the greatest amount of greenhouse gas emissions for each product considered in the study. The results of the meta-analysis revealed that the agricultural production stage was responsible for the highest level of emissions for each agricultural product. The results from this study support the need for changes to be made at the agricultural level in order to achieve sustainable production processes. The study also found a need for more comprehensive LCAs to be conducted in livestock production.
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