How Your Cereal Causes Climate Change

National Journal

One of the world's largest food companies says it's about to take a big bite out of global warming.

General Mills, maker of Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Wheaties, said Monday that it will set a target to limit air pollution throughout its entire supply chain next summer.

This marks the first time the food giant has pledged to measurably rein in greenhouse-gas emissions from its agricultural suppliers of ingredients like soy and sugarcane.

Environmental watchdogs say the effort is significant. According to Oxfam, air pollution created by the agricultural industry makes up a quarter of total greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide.

The targets will be unveiled in August 2015, at which point GM will announce when they will take effect. The standards will align with the goal of keeping a rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, a benchmark that scientists say is necessary to avoid the most devastating impacts of global warming.

GM has previously set limits on greenhouse-gas emissions in company-owned and operated facilities. And the company began disclosing total emissions across its supply chain earlier this year.

But Oxfam, which has pressed GM and other food and beverage companies to step up efforts to address global warming, says the existing air pollution limits are weak.

By contrast, the organization applauded GM for its renewed commitment to climate.

"Today General Mills has taken a bold step to be an industry leader in addressing the clear and present threat climate change poses to our food system," Monique van Zijl, the campaign manager for Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign, said in a statement.