February 15, 2012
BAILRIGG, Lancaster, UKSwitching to a vegetarian or vegan diet could cut up to 26% of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from food production, according to research from Lancaster University.
For the study, the researchers determined the typical greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of 61 different categories of food, then used their findings to calculate the typical emissions associated with various diets.
Meat has a carbon footprint at the checkout of 17kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram. Cheese has 15kg. Cooked meats are also high at 11kg per kilogram, with bacon at 9kg. Exotic vegetables and mushrooms are high (9kg), largely because of freight and glasshouse heating costs. Wine has a carbon footprint of 2kg per kilogram, and potatoes, apples, milk, bread and cereals are under 2kg.
Author Professor Nick Hewitt said: Greenhouse gases resulting from mans activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere, ultimately, with effects on global climate. It is clear that in order to meet the ambitious emissions reductions targets agreed in the UK and elsewhere, emissions from every possible source category have to be addressed and driven down. Food production, particularly by industrialized agricultural practices, causes significant greenhouse gas emissions. Realistic choices about diet can make substantial differences to embodied GHG emissions."
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