In an interview, researcher Zak Accuardi states, “Estimates vary, but... roughly 20 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions come from either agriculture or livestock production...” This means that these processes contribute to more greenhouse gas emissions than the entirety of the transportation sector (slated at about 14 percent of emissions). Of course, the particular type of food that seemed to be associated with the largest percentage of these emissions was meat.
Accuardi just finished a fellowship at Project Drawdown where he focused on the impact of dietary choices on climate change. While working on his project, he had access to data on every stage in the life cycle of food--from production, processing, cleaning, and even transportation--and he used this to examine their respective contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. In light of his findings, Accuardi states, “The most important dietary changes Americans can make to reduce their environmental impacts are eating less beef and lamb…”
While Accuardi advocates for the adoption of a “low-carbon diet,” we know that this is synonymous with "reducetarian diet." Each meatless meal you have directly impacts our greenhouse gas emissions. Keep this in mind the next time you're making the choice between a beef patty and a veggie burger.
Written by Marcos Cervantes