Research suggests that climate change will have a significant negative impact on morbidity, mortality, and quality of life for millions of people, disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations and increasing health disparities. Current animal agriculture practices play a significant role in exacerbating climate change through greenhouse gas production, nutrient pollution, and deforestation. Using the CDC’s Policy Analytical Framework, a policy analysis was completed to assess how effectively three key policies are addressing the impact that animal agriculture has on climate change.
The policies selected were The Clean Water Act (CWA), The Clean Air Act (CAA), and current USDA Agricultural Subsidies. The CWA only requires permits for a select few animal feeding operations (AFOs), resulting in a lack of uniform inspections and enforcement practices. The CAA has failed to list greenhouse gases as Criteria Air Pollutants (CAPs) and has exempted CAPs commonly emitted by AFOs. Additionally, the Air Compliance Agreement (ACA) of 2005 has given AFOs temporary immunity to civil liability under the CAA. Current USDA agricultural subsidies lack transparency and both direct and indirect subsidies for animal products encourage continuously increasing consumption of animal products. Based on this analysis, some recommendations include amending the CWA to require permits for all AFOs, removing the 2005 ACA from the CAA, reclassifying greenhouse gases as CAPs under the CAA, and prioritizing the creation and enforcement of emission thresholds for all CAPs. Additionally, USDA agricultural subsidies should include more transparency and all subsidies for animal products should be removed and redistributed to healthier food choices.
Funt, Caitlin, "An Analysis of Policy Opportunities to Mitigate the Impact of Animal Agriculture on Climate Change" (2021). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 414.