Beef has 13 times more climate impact than chicken, 57 times more than potatoes
- Pound for pound, beef production generates greenhouse gases that contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57.
- Beef consumption is rising rapidly, both as population increases and as people eat more meat.
- Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles.
I primarily focus on technology-based solutions since they can be the basis of government policy and since many websites are devoted to personal behavior choices, like No Impact Man.
Behavior-based strategies really only work on a large scale when societal values change (and/or prices jump) sharply, which is certainly inevitable in the coming years as more and more people come to grips with the increasingly painful reality of human-caused global warming (see “What are the near-term climate Pearl Harbors?“) and realize just how immoral it is to maintain current levels of GHG emissions per capita at the expense of the next 50 generations to walk the earth (NOAA stunner: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).
For a good article on how one meat-loving environmentalist has changed his behavior, see Mike Tidwell’s “The Low-Carbon Diet.”