What's Our Beef With Climate Change?

Meat just keeps on cropping up as a topic on TreeHugger. So what's our, errm, beef with beef? Well, we've already heard about the large carbon footprint of a burger [or should that be hoofprint?], and Lloyd has brought us some pretty unappetizing news of the link between cows and global warming. Now we hear, via a report in The Guardian, of a new study just published in New Scientist magazine showing that eating just one kg (approximately 2.2lbs) of beef creates the equivalent emissions as driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home! Unfortunately the true cost of emissions will be even higher than stated, as the study did not include the energy involved in maintaining farm equipment, nor in trucking the meat to market. All is not lost, however, as the scientists believe that significant savings in greenhouse gases can be made:

"The scientists behind the study are calling for a range of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. These include better waste management and reducing the interval between calving by a month, which the authors say could reduce the environmental impact by nearly 6%. A Swedish study conducted in 2003 claimed that raising organic beef on grass rather than feed, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and consumed 85% less energy."

Those wanting to reduce the impact of their meat consumption, but not willing to give it up entirely, could take a look at our posts on making your meat go further, or on grass fed cattle ranching. You can also read more about attempts to reduce methane emissions from cows in our post on using garlic to fight cow farts. ::New Scientist:: via The Guardian::

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