Red Meat Is Bad for the Environment: The Chart Red Meat Is Bad for the Environment: The Chart
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Red Meat Is Bad for the Environment: The Chart

by Andrew Price

May 22, 2009
The Oil Drum has an excellent post on Ecological Economics and the Food System. It's packed with interesting charts and graphs, including this one, which compares the climate impact of various kinds of food. If there are friends of yours who avoid red meat "for ecological reasons," this is what they're talking about.
Red meat isn't just marginally worse than other foods in terms of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions, it's very substantially worse. Like my colleague Morgan, I'll always enjoy a cheeseburger. But as much as I like them, seeing this chart makes me wonder if the greater impact of red meat is disproportionate to its greater deliciousness.It's also interesting to note that the delivery and freight end up being responsible for just a small fraction of the emissions from our food. Does that undermine the logic of buying local somewhat?And one final observation: fish looks pretty good here, but remember that this chart doesn't take into account the problem of dwindling fish species.I'd recommend just eating nothing but "Beverages" and "Other Misc."
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Red Meat Is Bad for the Environment: The Chart