Consuming less meat will not reduce greenhouse gas production, an air quality expert said Monday (March 22).

Frank Mitloehner, a professor at the University of California-Davis, spoke during a conference of the American Chemical Society in California.

Mitloehner authored “Cleaning the Air: Livestock’s Contribution to Climate Change,” which asserts that despite often-repeated claims, there is no scientific basis to blame livestock for climate change. His study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Agronomy.

Mitloehner traces much of the public confusion over meat and milk’s role in climate change to a 2008 United Nations report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which he suggests overstates the role livestock play in greenhouse gas emissions.

The statements in this report are not accurate, but are seen as factual because of their wide distribution through the news media, he says.

“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk…but by increasing efficient meat production in developing countries, where growing populations need more nutritious food,” Mitloehner says.