SocraticGadfly: Eat a steak, heat the planet

July 18, 2007

Eat a steak, heat the planet

That’s the word from Japanese researchers, who say all the energy consumed in getting 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of beef on your plate, causes as much global warming as driving for three hours while leaving all your house lights on.
Producing a kilo (2.2 pounds) of beef causes the equivalent of 36.4 kilos (80.08 pounds) in carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, Akifumi Ogino found.

Most of these greenhouse-gas emissions take the form of methane, released from the cow's digestive system.

That one kilo (2.2 pounds) of beef also requires energy equivalent to lighting a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days. The energy is needed to produce and transport the animals' feed.

A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef emits 40 percent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 percent less energy because the animal is raised on grass rather than concentrated feed.

Now, I’m not a vegetarian. But, I already go light on meat, and it’s usually poultry I eat. But, even if I ate all red meat, normally it would be 10-14 days for me to eat that much.

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