Article / 22 Jul, 2014
Go Easy on the Beef for the Climate

A new study by U.S. and Israeli researchers says there’s an easy way for you to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, help preserve biodiversity and reduce water pollution all at the same time: Go easy on the beef.

The study showed that compared with poultry, pork and eggs per gram of protein, beef:

  • Uses 28 times more land, potentially destroying natural habitats where wild plants and animals live
  • Consumes 11 times more irrigation water for feed
  • Releases five times more greenhouse gases linked to global warming
  • Uses six times more nitrogen fertilizer, which can pollute waterways, causing problems such as algae blooms that foul lakes.

When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat and rice, the impact is even more extreme for beef which:

  • Requires 160 times more land
  • Produces 11 times more greenhouse gases

Photo by Getty Images

The UNFCCC believes that dietary choice is a matter for each individual. There is also a wide variety of other means to reduce your carbon footprint. However, this study underlines the significant environmental benefits in reducing meat consumption.

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Photo by Kathrin Lim