Does what I eat have an effect on climate change?
The article below from the NYT is too silly for me to reproduce all of it. It is a sort of hymn for the global warming religion. You have to believe in "planet-warming greenhouse gases" to take any notice of it.
But note also below that the do-gooders never miss a chance to condemn "red meat and dairy". That evil red meat will both ruin your health and destroy the planet. There's actually nothing bad that red meat will not do. It's a sort of new Puritanism being preached below. And, like the original Puritanism, its main aim is to stop pleasure and enforce suffering
Yes. The world’s food system is responsible for about one-quarter of the planet-warming greenhouse gases that humans generate each year. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat — beef, chicken, fish, milk, lentils, kale, corn and more — as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world. If you eat food, you’re part of this system.
HOW EXACTLY DOES FOOD CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL WARMING?
Lots of ways. Here are four of the biggest: When forests are cleared to make room for farms and livestock — this happens on a daily basis in some parts of the world — large stores of carbon are released into the atmosphere, which heats up the planet.
When cows, sheep and goats digest their food, they burp up methane, another potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Animal manure and rice paddies are also big methane sources. Finally, fossil fuels are used to operate farm machinery, make fertilizer and ship food around the globe, all of which generate emissions.
WHICH FOODS HAVE THE LARGEST IMPACT?
Meat and dairy, particularly from cows, have an outsize impact, with livestock accounting for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined.
A major study published last year in the journal Science calculated the average greenhouse gas emissions associated with different foods: In general, beef and lamb have the biggest climate footprint per gram of protein, while plant-based foods tend to have the smallest impact. Pork and chicken are somewhere in the middle.
Now, these are only averages. Beef raised in the United States generally produces fewer emissions than beef raised in Brazil or Argentina. Certain cheeses can have a larger greenhouse gas impact than a lamb chop. And some experts think these numbers may actually underestimate the impact of deforestation associated with farming and ranching.
But most studies agree with this general hierarchy: Plant-based foods usually have a lower impact than meat, and beef and lamb tend to be the worst offenders by a considerable margin.
IS THERE A SIMPLE FOOD CHOICE I CAN MAKE THAT WOULD REDUCE MY CLIMATE FOOTPRINT?
Consuming less red meat and dairy will typically have the biggest impact for most people in wealthy countries. That doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. You might just eat less of the foods with the biggest climate footprints, like beef, lamb and cheese. If you’re looking for substitutes, pork, chicken, eggs and mollusks have a smaller footprint. But plant-based foods like beans, pulses, grains and soy tend to be the most climate-friendly options of all.
HOW MUCH WOULD CHANGING MY DIET ACTUALLY HELP?
It varies from person to person. But a number of studies have concluded that people who eat a meat-heavy diet — including much of the population of the United States and Europe — could shrink their food-related footprint by one-third or more by moving to a vegetarian diet. Giving up dairy would reduce those emissions even further.
If you don’t want to go that far, there are still ways to shrink your individual footprint. Just eating less meat and dairy, and more plants, can reduce emissions. Cutting back on red meat in particular can make a surprisingly large difference: According to a World Resources Institute analysis, if the average American replaced a third of the beef he or she eats with pork, poultry or legumes, his or her food-related emissions would still fall by around 13 percent.
Keep in mind that food consumption is often only a small fraction of a person’s total carbon footprint: There’s also driving, flying and home energy use to consider. But dietary changes are often one of the quickest ways for many people to lighten their impact on the planet.