Reduce Meat Consumption to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most cost efficient and easiest way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is to “reduce meat consumption,” according to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It’s a change he says would have more impact than ditching your present wheels for a hybrid car.

If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 20 percent it would be equivalent to switching from a standard sedan to a hybrid, according to calculations by geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela A. Martin.

A 2008 Japanese study estimated that 2.2 lbs. of beef produces the equivalent amount of carbon that the average European car does every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100 watt bulb for almost 20 days.

Livestock production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation, according to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), titled Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. The FAO report found that livestock production causes 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, including nine percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of methane, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide.

Livestock production has increased since 1961

Livestock production has increased by 60 percent since 1961, according to the Worldwatch Institute (WI). The amount of poultry raised for human consumption globally almost quadrupled since 1961. Beef and pork consumption in the U.S. has tripled since 1970, and doubled in Asia.

Factory farming is the “fastest growing method of animal production worldwide,” according to WI. Industrial systems are responsible for 74 percent of the world’s total poultry products, 50 percent of pork production, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs. WI projects that by 2020 people in industrial countries will eat 100 kilograms per person of meat a year, and people in developing countries will eat 39 kilograms per person (twice as much as in the 1980s).

The FAO report also noted that between 1970 and 2002 the annual meat consumption per capita in developing countries increased from 24 lbs. to 64 lbs. It projects the global meat production to more than double from 1999 levels by 2050. The report cites changing food preferences as increasing the demand for livestock production.

The environmental impact per unit of livestock production needs to be cut in half in order to avoid increasing the level of damage from its current level, according to the FAO report. In other words, an improved diet will reduce GHG emissions.

Henning Steinfeld, the senior author of the FAO  report, said, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.”

Take the pledge to eat conscientiously

If you are a meat eater, consider the pointed question that Mark Bittman of the New York Times asked in an article, “And would the world not be a better place were some of the grain we use to grow meat directed instead to feed our fellow human beings?”

Now is the perfect time to take the Pledge to Eat Conscientiously for Animals and Planet. Earth Day (April 22) is next week. Make eating less meat or giving up meat altogether your Earth Day action.


Nicholas B.
Nicholas B.2 years ago

ICC Mortgage And financial Services,Is a sincere and certified private Loan company approved by the Government,we give out international and local loans to all countries in the world,Amount given out $2,500 to $100,000,000 Dollars, Euro and Pounds.We offer loans with a dependable guarantee to all of our clients. Our loan interest rates are very low and affordable with a negotiable duration.
Available now
Available now..
Apply for a loan today with your loan amount and duration, Its Easy and fast to get. 4% interest rates and monthly
installment payments.

Nicholas Brush

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 3 years ago

Oct 29, 2012 full Moon message

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago

Unprecedented: Class Action Lawsuit Against Church, State, Big Pharma Given Green Light. To All Who Inhabit This Earth – end denial, expand awareness and particip-action VIEW EARTHLINGS!

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago


President of the United States: Urgent Request for UN Intervention to Stabilize Fukushima Reactor Unit 4.

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago

Everything hidden is being revealed. The highest form of morality is to use new information to maintain, enhance inner peace, and regain coherence with the world. THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's REALLY going on. It follows money upstream - uncovering global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future. Movie at

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago

Love is the new 2012 equalizer.

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago

Susan W. Thank you for sharing. The PDF link did not work. Do you have another link?

I just emailed the Environmental Working Group to remind them that all life is interdependent. I highlighted Dr. Ervin Laszlo's comment that a steady diet of beef by a large percentage of people, requires 2 other planets the size of Earth to meed water demands.

More from Dr. Laszlo