Fighting global warming — at the dinner table

May 05, 2008
Fighting global warming — at the dinner table
Scientists report that eating chicken, vegetables or fish, such as the swordfish above, instead of red meat for just one meal per week does more to help fight climate change than "buying local." Credit: Courtesy of wikimedia commons

Substituting chicken, fish, or vegetables for red meat just once a week can help combat climate change — even more dramatically than buying locally sourced food, according to scientists in Pennsylvania who studied the environmental impacts of food production and distribution in the United States. The study is scheduled for the May 15 issue of ACS’s bi-weekly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In the study, Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews explain that environmental advocates and retailers have urged customers to purchase goods from local sources to minimize environmental impacts. Despite this emphasis on “buying local,” the researchers point out that few studies in the U. S. have compared greenhouse gas emissions from food production to those of transportation.

Weber and Matthews found that the production phase dominates the average U.S. household’s greenhouse-gas burden — contributing 83 percent of them — whereas transportation accounts for only 11 percent. Red meat, according to the report, is almost 150 percent more greenhouse-gas-intensive than chicken or fish.

“Thus, we suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than ‘buying local,’” the paper says. “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse-gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

1 hour ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

1 hour ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

1 hour ago

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 US workers

1 hour ago

The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

Recommended for you

New solutions needed to recycle fracking water

7 hours ago

Rice University scientists have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to ...

Feds allows logging after huge California wildfire

18 hours ago

The U.S. Forest Service has decided to allow logging on nearly 52 square miles of the Sierra Nevada burned last year in a massive California wildfire, a move contested by environmentalists.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

DrPhysics
2.9 / 5 (7) May 05, 2008
One time a week? Hmmmmm ........ what amount of global impact would take place? Specifics please. Does this assume the red meat is produced using more energy, or PETA just feels this is a good path away from meat eating all together?? Talk about non-science.

Everyone ........ BBQ steaks at my house tonight. 8pm sharp. Don't miss it.
mikiwud
2.6 / 5 (5) May 06, 2008
I have a theory:-starvation leads to death in ?% of cases.
Can I have my grant now?
wfl
3 / 5 (6) May 06, 2008
PhysOrg: I can't believe you would print this drivel.
thinking
2.6 / 5 (5) May 06, 2008
Anything linking to global warming makes money..... talking about getting grants... can I get a grant to study why global warming will cause 100 percent of all people alive today to be dead in 120 years.