Cows are the United States’ single biggest source of methane — a potent gas that has 105 times the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide. That’s one major reason why beef’s greenhouse gas footprint is far higher than that of most other sources of protein.
Beef’s environmental impact may actually be estimated on the conservative side. According to one expert, cutting down on red meat would actually have more impact on carbon emissions than abandoning cars. The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The production of livestock is proven to have serious impacts on the environment; it affects air and water quality, ocean health, competes with biodiversity and is the largest land user in the world. It also affects global food security given the fact that the crop calories fed to animals for human consumption are sufficient to meet the calorie needs of 4 billion people, which is concerning since it has been estimated that we need to grow 70% more food by 2050. Furthermore, it is responsible for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, quantifying the environmental effects of livestock has been a challenge but remains a necessity in order to highlight changes necessary in order to promote sustainability.
Beef production requires significantly more resources than other livestock categories
Globally, beef and veal production has increased almost 20 percent between 1995 and 2012, according to the Organization for Economically Developed Countries. It’s projected to increase another 11 percent by 2022.
Meat consumption is a delicate issue for many, but everyone should consider these messages carefully if they want to improve overall production efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts, Avoiding excessive meat consumption, especially beef, is good for the environment.
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