Children who do not eat everything on their plates could be convinced to do so by accusing them of global warming. According to a report published by the United Nations
, a whole third of the food destined for human consumption is wasted, leading to 3.3 billion tons of CO2 released in the atmosphere. LA Times states
, "only U.S. and China have bigger carbon footprints; each produces the equivalent of nearly 7 billion tones of carbon dioxide for each country every year."
The wastage costs global economy around $750 billion each year and does not include fish or seafood wasted. In a world where 870 million people are chronically undernourished
, the statistics are alarming.
In the industrialized world, much of the waste comes from consumers buying too much and throwing away what they do not eat. In developing countries, it is mainly the result of inefficient farming and a lack of proper storage facilities.
It suggested improving communication between producers and consumers to manage the supply chain more efficiently, as well as investing more in harvesting, cooling and packaging methods.
It also said consumers in the developed world should be encouraged to serve smaller portions and make more use of leftovers. Businesses should give surplus food to charities, and develop alternatives to dumping organic waste in landfill.
The focus of the U.N. report was to examine the environmental impact of food waste, as well as investigating where food waste occurs in the food production process. The report's authors stated: for instance, food that is produced but not eaten uses up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia's Volga River, the longest river in Europe. In Asia, rice waste is particularly a problem given its high methane emissions and large wastage.
As the global population is expected to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050
, food production must be significantly increased, taking an even bigger toll on the environment. However, if the food waste is reduced, the U.N. report states the production effort could decrease by 60 percent.