UN responds to removal of ‘meat worse than oil’ tweet – UPDATED

Beef Central, 30/07/2020

A United Nations spokesperson has told Beef Central that its tweet stating the meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies was withdrawn earlier this week, not because it contained misinformation, but because it did not come from a UN source.

As reported yesterday the United Nations on Thursday afternoon removed without explanation a tweet which had stated the meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies. “Meat production contributes to the depletion of water resources & drives deforestation,” the United Nations official account tweeted.

A range of international scientists challenged the United Nations on Twitter, describing the claim as misinformation and challening the organisation to produce evidence to support its statement or remove its tweet.

The UN also accounts regular statements on its own website warning internet users against posting misinformation and unverified statements.

Yesterday afternoon (see below) the UN quietly removed the offending post from its twitter account:

Beef Central asked the United Nations if it could indicate why it removed the tweet and whether it accepted the claim in its tweet  amounted to misinformation.

In response a United Nations spokesperson overnight responded with the following statement, which denied the tweet contained misinformation:

“The material in the tweet was deleted because it did not come from a UN source,” the spokesperson said.

“This does not mean we regard it as misinformation; we simply take care to use UN sources for the information in our tweets and that did not happen with this tweet, so it was withdrawn.”



THE United Nations has quietly removed a tweet which claimed meat produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies.

On July 25 the United Nations posted the following message to its twitter account:

The meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies. Meat production contributes to the depletion of water resources & drives deforestation.

See how you can #ActNow to protect our planet.

— United Nations (@UN) July 25, 2020

The tweet triggered an angry response from a range of sources including Cattle Council of Australia, which described the claim as an ‘absurd simplification’ and ‘misleading’.

It said the message ignored the basic point that oil extraction releases carbon storages laid down millions of years ago, while livestock emissions are part of a biogenic cycle.

Australian agricultural minister David Littleproud said the message showed the UN was “becoming irrelevant”: “Urging people to eat less meat based on an ideological agenda is nothing short of hypocritical and disgraceful,” he said.

International air quality expert Frank Mitloehner from the University of California Davis, who a decade ago exposed incorrect information published by the United Nations on livestock emissions in its 2006 Livestock Long Shadow report, called on the UN to have a closer look at the message in its July 25 tweet:



He also wrote at length about the scientific flaws in the UN’s statement on Tuesday.  

The tweet appears to have been quietly removed from the UN’s twitter feed this afternoon.

No statement has been made by the UN to explain why the tweet has been removed.

Its twitter account does however still contain a number of tweets warning against people posting misinformation online, such as this one:


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  1. Albrecht Glatzle, 03/08/2020

    “The tweet was not withdrawn because it contained misinformation but because it did not come from a UN-scource”.
    Once more the UN disqualifïes itself!
    1) GHG-emissions, water use and land “consumption” by meat production has been very much exaggerated.
    2) There is no proof, whatsoever, for GHG emissions being responsible for the ever lasting climate change! To the contrary, anthropogenic CO2-emissions have been shown to be beneficial for nature, agriculture and global food security.

  2. David Lovelock, 02/08/2020

    Just more misinformation from sources that should know better. the greenhouse emissions i.e. carbon dioxide and methane from cattle , contain carbon that was in the air during the last growing season of the pasture consumed i.e. part of a cycle of short term period . The carbon released from oil was in the air perhaps millions of years ago, a very different time cycle .

  3. Deb Newell, 01/08/2020

    Time to get back to basics. The physiological blueprint of Homo sapiens remains that of a hunter gatherer. We are not designed to eat grains as these previously ephemeral ripe grass seeds required too much effort to seek, gather, thresh, winnow, grind and then mix with potable water and baked before being edible. The effort in was far greater than the energy consumed. The planet has always had methane. It comes through cracks in the Earth’s surface and is made by prokaryotes called methanocytes that can be found in the digestive tracts of ruminants, human intestinal tracts, termite mounds, swamps… In nature there is a feed-back cycle that involves another set of prokaryotes called methanotrophes that live in the top 30cms or so of soils and dine on methane. The synthetic Nitrogen of NKP fertilisers used by cereal production limits or destroys these methanotrophes making cereal production possibly the greatest producer of methane – as well as the greatest use of water. Of all cereal productions it is that of rice, based on a swamp environment now covering most arable land in Asia and now requiring NKP fertilisers to increase yield that is the single largest farmed production of methane. It is not free-range cattle that inherit the water of natural precipitation and have only limited exposure to ripe seed heads that are the problem – it is cereal cultivation that destroys soil fertility, exhausts water resources , emits methane and devastates human health through a raft of pathologies such as gluten intolerances, obesity, Rickett’s, osteoporosis, to name just a few issues from trying to change humans into herbivores and herbivores into cereal eaters. Would be good to hear a response to this argument from that waste of space the UN.

  4. The UN has passed it’s use by date and needs to be disbanded.
    You would not believe the countries running the “human rights” division!

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