This should come as no great surprise to anyone who's been around the environmental block a couple times, but the new stats on the carbon footprint of beef from Brazil are pretty stunning: A new study being highlighted by Mongabay shows that because of deforestation the average carbon footprint of Brazilian beef is pushed markedly upwards because of a small percentage of beef producers.
60% of the Brazilian beef industry's carbon emissions come from just 6% of producers--those that clear the Amazon for cattle pastures. In total 60-70% of deforestation in the Amazon can be tied to cattle ranches. The authors of the study say,
We have calculated it many different ways in the article, and no matter how we do it, we arrive at the conclusion that Brazilian beef is a heavy producer of carbon dioxide. The snag is this 6 percent of beef production causes about 25 times more carbon dioxide emissions that beef produced in the rest of Brazil.
In the end emissions from Brazilian beef average twice that of beef produced in Europe.