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Friday, June 06, 2008

Want to save the planet? Go vegan. A study out of Carnegie Mellon compares the ecological benefits of eating locally versus the costs of producing red meat and dairy.

But it's how food is produced, not how far it is transported, that matters most for global warming, according to new research published in ES&T (DOI: 10.1021/es702969f). In fact, eating less red meat and dairy can be a more effective way to lower an average U.S. household's food-related climate footprint than buying local food, says lead author Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University.

Weber and colleague Scott Matthews, also of Carnegie Mellon, conducted a life-cycle assessment of greenhouse gases emitted during all stages of growing and transporting food consumed in the U.S. They found that transportation creates only 11% of the 8.1 metric tons (t) of greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) that an average U.S. household generates annually as a result of food consumption. The agricultural and industrial practices that go into growing and harvesting food are responsible for most (83%) of its greenhouse gas emissions.
Via Ezra Klein.