STUDY: Vegetarian Diets ‘Worse’ For ‘Climate Change’ – Three Times ‘More Harmful to the Environment’


By: - Climate DepotDecember 14, 2015 7:28 PM with 13 comments

Monday, December 14, 2015

VEGETARIAN AND “HEALTHY” DIETS COULD BE MORE HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Carnegie Mellon Study Finds Eating Lettuce Is More Than Three Times Worse in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Eating Bacon

By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 / [email protected]

Contrary to recent headlines — and a talk by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference — eating a vegetarian diet could contribute to climate change.

In fact, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie. Published inEnvironment Systems and Decisions, the study measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with U.S. food consumption patterns.

Bacon and Lettuce
Eating lettuce is more harmful to the environment than eating bacon.

“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said Paul Fischbeck, professor ofsocial and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

Fischbeck, Michelle Tom, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering, and Chris Hendrickson, the Hamerschlag University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, studied the food supply chain to determine how the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is affecting the environment. Specifically, they examined how growing, processing and transporting food, food sales and service, and household storage and use take a toll on resources in the form of energy use, water use and GHG emissions.

On one hand, the results showed that getting our weight under control and eating fewer calories, has a positive effect on the environment and reduces energy use, water use and GHG emissions from the food supply chain by approximately 9 percent.

However, eating the recommended “healthier” foods — a mix of fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood — increased the environmental impact in all three categories: Energy use went up by 38 percent, water use by 10 percent and GHG emissions by 6 percent.

“There’s a complex relationship between diet and the environment,” Tom said. “What is good for us health-wise isn’t always what’s best for the environment. That’s important for public officials to know and for them to be cognizant of these tradeoffs as they develop or continue to develop dietary guidelines in the future.”

CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research and the Colcom Foundation funded this research.

Read the full study.

Related Article:
Weighing Environmental Impacts of Obesity in U.S. Population

Related Links:

‘Poop burgers’ to save the planet! Japanese scientist creates artificial meat from human feces – ‘Poop burgers’ will be good for the climate because ‘the meatpacking industry causes 18% of our greenhouse gas emissions…hopefully people will be able to overlook that ugly detail (eating human feces) in favor of perks like environmental responsibility’

Now Global Warming Believers Want To Take Away The Joy of Eating Steak

 

 


  • Sam Pyeatte

    I really don’t care what they think, I eat what I want.

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  • Bjørnar Tuftin

    If you read the actual report what’s “harmful” is replacing low GHG-producing added sugars and fats with high GHG-producing dairy and seafood. High water content fruits and vegetables, particularly produced in California, also play a role, but it also supports reducing meat consumption as beneficial to reducing GHG.

    The reporting of this study has so far been nothing short of asinine.

  • J.P. Katigbak

    I wish three researchers said it correctly about how people eat nutritious food in a latest study. Be wary of the scandalously ideological and philosophical aspects of environmentalism. It is socialism, I say. – J.P.K.

  • EthanCooper

    If reporters had been as concerned with responsible journalism as they
    were with creating click-bait headlines, they would have mentioned the fact
    that because lettuce has basically no calories, you would have to produce tons
    and tons of it to equal the calories in just a tiny snippet of animal flesh,
    and obviously, producing many, many heads of lettuce is going to require a lot
    of energy. Most plant foods are still far less taxing to the environment than
    growing all those plants then feeding loads of them to animals for months to
    produce a comparatively small amount of meat along with a great amount of
    methane and waste.

  • Kim Marie

    Actually, the study found that vegetarian and vegan foods ARE better than meat for the planet. You have to wonder why the meat industry goes to such lengths when it comes to deflecting the negative health consequences of their products.

  • infamouscrimes

    How is it better for the environment to grow plants and feed them to animals which are then killed for food when you can just eat the plants? Animal agriculture is unsustainable. If you had to raise your own pigs in the end times, you wouldn’t do it because you would starve. If meat and dairy were not so heavily subsidized by our taxes then you would realize the actual cost of meat.

    Here are some actual facts:

    Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
    Vegan: 1/6th acre
    Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
    Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan
    Robbins, John. Diet for a New America, StillPoint Publishing, 1987, p. 352

    477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese.

    1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.

    5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes. 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.

    Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.

    Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

    2-5 acres of land are used per cow.

    A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.

    Worldwide, cows drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day.

    Worldwide, at least 50% of grain is fed to livestock.

    • FrenchKiss

      The moe-ron vomited: Animal agriculture is unsustainable.. Yeah, humans have just been doing for, oh, 10,000 years!

      The moe-ron spewed: Worldwide, at least 50% of grain is fed to livestock.. Wrong again. In 2000, over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage. Ethanol is a worthless fuel, but more importantly, the production of Ethanol causes food prices to increase, which only hurt the poor. But you’re good with that.

  • Heather Moore

    This study is too flawed to be taken seriously. Even the
    study authors have said that the findings have been twisted and misrepresented.
    Nothing has changed. The researchers basically just found that lettuce isn’t as
    environmentally friendly as other vegetarian foods, such as kale, broccoli,
    rice, potatoes, spinach and wheat. Bacon and other meats still contribute to
    climate change, pollution, deforestation, animal suffering, cancer, heart
    disease, diabetes, and a host of other problems. If you’re looking for an
    excuse to eat meat, you’re not going to find it.

    • Fokker43

      Yes, but bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good. Kale, however, does not.

  • Allen Eltor

    One of the main things we all need to insist, is that other people prove to us we they can and do accurately predict what happens to a thermometer when it has more, or less light, on it.

    Every one,
    needs to learn this, that I am about to tell you. It is important you step yourself through it in VERY PLAIN THERMODYNAMIC TERMS and don’t allow someone to CHANGE the SUBJECT on you
    BY TELLING YOU
    that if ”you don’t accept that the basic science is sound” then YOU don’t get to TALK.

    You have to insist that YOU KNOW THE BASIC SCIENCE says THIS and NOTHING ELSE:

    there is a sphere rotating in vacuum of space lit by a nearby glowing source the sun.

    Energy in from the sun at that distance is 100%
    Energy gain modes number one, namely radiant gain
    Energy loss modes number one, namely radiant gain.

    As SOON as an atmosphere appears there is a 20% reduction of energy to the planet surface in CREATION of a MODE of THERMODYNAMIC TRANSFER UNIQUELY DEFINED and NAMED DIFFRACTION COOLING.

    This COOLING is CREATED by GREEN HOUSE GASES almost in it’s ENTIRETY.

    Adding MORE green house GASES will AMPLIFY or ACCELERATE energy REDUCTION such that if ENOUGH is suspended in the atmosphere that 21% energy LOSS to the surface occurs then 21% COOLING shall occur.

    When the diffraction COOLING has taken place the envelope is still many degrees COLDER than the SURFACE creating the migration of energy from warmer to colder envelope in a MODE of THERMODYNAMIC TRANSFER named CONDUCTION. CONDUCTION LOSS is the SECOND mode of COOLING created by the ATMOSPHERE. Green House Gas WATER leads the PACK in COOLING per molecule.

    There is another UNIQUELY DESCRIBED named and defined MODE of COOLING CREATED by the ATMOSPHERE. It is named CONVECTION.
    CONVECTION mode COOLING is BEST known for the PHASE CHANGE REFRIGERATION of GREEN HOUSE GAS WATER as it evaporates, rising in accordance with gravity to dump energy to lower-energy regimes at higher altitudes, – condensing – changing phase a SECOND time such that it becomes SOLID phase falling to the earth as ice faster than if it remained a GAS.

    The SOLE GAS in the ATMOSPHERE associated with this UNIQUE ASPECT of the SEPARATELY NAMED MODE of COOLING is
    GREEN
    HOUSE
    GAS WATER.

    The”BASIC SCIENCE”
    is NOT sound.

    It is what led DOZENS of SCIENTISTS to RESIGN.
    It is why WORLD CLIMATE BLOG LEADER ANTHONY WATTS WILL NOT LET YOU DISCUSS THE ABOVE AT LENGTH on HIS BLOG SITE
    WATTS
    PASSES HIMSELF as a SKEPTIC but HE says he is ONLY SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE CATASTROPHE of WARMING not THE BASIC STORY.

    I need MUCH MUCH HELP SPREADING AGAIN the NATURAL STEP by THERMODYNAMIC STEP DISCUSSION of WHAT the ATMOSPHERE
    ACTUALLY DOES.

    I need YOU and EVERYBODY you KNOW to PLEASE PASS THIS STEP THROUGH AROUND: HAVE PEOPLE GO to WEBSITES ALL AROUND the WORLD and STEP by STEP by STEP EXPLAIN what I have SAID to YOU and WATCH the PLACE get as SILENT as though
    you
    can hear
    a PIN drop.

    THERE ARE NO
    THERE ARE NO
    LARGE MEDIA OWNER RUN BLOGS
    that TEACH these SIMPLE THERMODYNAMIC TRUTHS

    WATTS sells ELECTRIC CARS and needs the ALARM
    JO ANN NOVA ISN’T a THERMODYNAMICIST and was SHUT OUT by ACADEMICS and MEDIA.

    TAKE the WORD OUT under as MANY NAMES as YOU NEED TO to REMAIN ANONYMOUS and CLOCK THROUGH the STORY I WROTE to you ABOVE.

    Peace on yas, anonymous thermodynamicists.

    • Allen Eltor

      ANOMYMOUS, COMPETENT THERMODYNAMICISTS: I need your help to quietly, insistently, spread the word by SHEER reFUSAL to be SILENCED ABOUT IT: THE ATMOSPHERE is NOT A HEATER. THERE IS NO UNIQUELY THERMODYNAMICALLY DEFINED PROCESS of ENERGY GAIN CREATED by the SUSPENSION of the ATMOSPHERE around the PLANET immersing the planet into a
      FRIGID: THIS MEANS, ALWAYS COLDER
      SELF REFRIGERATED: THIS MEANS BY the PHASE CHANGE REFRIGERANT GREEN HOUSE GAS WATER,

      gas BATH the EXISTENCE of WHICH CREATES the EXISTENCE of the UNIQUELY DEFINED and DESCRIBED THERMODYNAMIC PROCESS
      DIFFRACTION LOSS: reducing ENERGY to the PLANET by 20% AT CURRENT LEVELS.

      When ONE PERCENT GREEN HOUSE GASES were ADDED to the ATMOSPHERE there was CREATED the MODE of COOLING named DIFFRACTION LOSS to the SURFACE of the PLANET of 1%
      going on up 5% DIFFRACTION MODE cooling LOSS
      going on up 10% DIFFRACTION MODE cooling LOSS
      going on up 15% DIFFRACTION MODE cooling LOSS
      to 20% diffraction mode COOLING – when YOU ADD MORE GREEN HOUSE GASES you AMPLIFY COOLING.

      I need HELP to SPREAD this throughout the ENTIRE PLANET as the PROFESSIONAL MEDIA
      who WERE DUPED/ARE DUPED/ARE AFRAID TO ARGUE with ACADEMICS have SHUT THIS TRUTH DOWN like SNAPPING off
      the
      LIGHTS in THERMODYNAMICS DISCUSSION.

      I’ll be around saying this: I need your HELP. I am an atmospheric chemist and atmospheric radiation specialist and decided that the WAY to DO this is NOT let the LAYMAN force himself to be DRAGGED into LYING. So I though to simply START where you would START
      TEACHING ATMOSPHERIC RADIATION BUDGET THERMODYNAMICS to MIDDLE schoolers etc.

      And the entire WORLD MEDIA will NOT SAY the WORDS ABOVE. I NEED your HELP through ALL your ANONMYMOUS EFFORTS.

      Peace anonymous thermodynamicists

      • Jeff Brinker

        I am passionate about science. I love Newtonian physics. I read your entire post. If you are serious about your cause, stop writing in all caps and people might listen. People fall silent and deaf to unhinged rants, even if it speaks the truth, even if the explanation of thermodynamics is dead on.