Combat climate change by cutting beef and lamb production, report says
By Tara John, CNN
Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT) November 15, 2018
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Photos:10 common climate-damaging foods in the American diet
Beef – Beef is widely recognized as the most climate-damaging of all foods. A 2017 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council on food consumption in the US calculates that each kilogram of beef produces 26.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions -- the highest among all the foods observed in the study, and five times more than chicken or turkey meat.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5 percent of the world's greenhouse emissions, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, making it a significant contributor to climate change. Of those emissions, 65 percent come from beef and dairy cattle.
Reducing beef consumption is an effective way of curbing global emissions. According to the NRDC, Americans now consume 19 percent less beef than just over a decade ago, in 2005. This is equivalent to a reduction of 185 million metric tons of emissions, or the annual tailpipe pollution of 39 million cars. But why is beef so bad? "The feed is largely produced using lots of pesticide and fertilizer, which requires fossil fuels," explains Sujatha Bergen, one of the authors of the study. "Also, the digestive system of the cows produces methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And the manure emits additional greenhouse gases."