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Meat’s Climate Impact

A new study reveals that the greenhouse gas emissions of meat and cheese are far higher than those of veggies, legumes.


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A chart released this week by the Environmental Working Group called “The Meat Eater’s Guide” details the environmental impact of 20 different foods, and the results were not flattering for meat and cheese. The study traced the greenhouse gas emissions of each item from farm to shelves and found that the carbon footprint of lamb is nearly 20 times larger than those of beans and tofu. The worst offenders behind lamb were beef and cheese, while the least environmentally detrimental items were tomatoes and lentils. Although similar studies have been done before, this one stands apart for considering every aspect of production including pesticide and fertilizer consumption, processing, transportation, and cooking.

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