Carbon footprint of carnivorous diet revealed
Tuesday 19 July 2011
American non-profit organization the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released on July 18 the results of a study into the carbon footprint of meat and dairy products in an attempt to inform consumers about the environmental impact of their diet.
The study, titled "Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health," calculates the environmental impact of meat and dairy production in the United States, taking into account emissions from the consumption and disposal as well as production of food.
The study concluded that if every person in the United States stopped eating meat and cheese for one day a week for one year the resulting reduction in emissions would be equivalent to removing 7.6 million cars from the roads.
The study found that the environmental impact differed between foods: beef was found to generate twice the emissions of pork and four times the emissions of chicken. Also the emissions associated with beef were 13 times higher than those produced by vegetable proteins such as beans, lentils and tofu.
The report, available online at http://bit.ly/oPURuW, provides consumers with a chart comparing the emissions of 4oz (113 grams) of products consumed with car miles driven. The report also advocates reducing the amount of meat in one's diet and offers tips on how to do so. For committed carnivores the report also outlines tips for buying 'greener' meat.
There are several other online tools for calculating the carbon footprint of an average diet including Food emissions and The Low Carbon Diet Calculator.
The report "Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health" is available at: http://breakingnews.ewg.org/meateatersguide
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