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The entirely trivial effect of formula milk on climate change

Summary:
We’ve much huffing and puffing about the costs of formula milk. That, instead of the human draught kind, creates the emissions that damage the environment when used to feed babies.Breastfeeding for longer could help save the environment, scientists have said as they reveal Britain’s poor rates cause the equivalent of 77,000 cars worth of damage. Experts at Imperial College London have for the first time calculated the harm to the planet from infant formula.They found that, not only does it produce significant amounts of greenhouse gas due to the in creates for dairy cows, but it also depletes water and electricity, as well as producing waste.Everything has costs as well as benefits. The important question is what’s the balance between them? The Imperial team calculated that breastfeeding

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We’ve much huffing and puffing about the costs of formula milk. That, instead of the human draught kind, creates the emissions that damage the environment when used to feed babies.

Breastfeeding for longer could help save the environment, scientists have said as they reveal Britain’s poor rates cause the equivalent of 77,000 cars worth of damage.

Experts at Imperial College London have for the first time calculated the harm to the planet from infant formula.

They found that, not only does it produce significant amounts of greenhouse gas due to the in creates for dairy cows, but it also depletes water and electricity, as well as producing waste.

Everything has costs as well as benefits. The important question is what’s the balance between them?

The Imperial team calculated that breastfeeding for six months would save up between 95 and 153 KG of carbon dioxide per baby.

Ah, the costs are entirely trivial. Ludicrously minute that is.

The Stern Review told us that the social cost of carbon - the damage it does - is $80 per tonne CO2-e. Bottle feeding a baby for 6 months thus has a cost - tops - to the environment of $12. Against which we can and should set the benefits.

Not all women produce enough milk to feed their baby. Bottle feeding aids in any quick or immediate return to work. Some simply prefer it. That last being the most important point. Our task, as ever, is to maximise human utility over time within the constraints imposed by reality upon us.

Does bottle feeding produce more than $12 of benefits in the eyes of those who do it? Yes, of course, they pay more than that for the formula. Therefore the practice, among those who do it, is adding to the utility and wealth of humanity. Long may it continue.

Further, could we all stop worrying about trivialities here?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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