Climate study: top 20% of U.S. diet blamed for majority of greenhouse gas emissions

From the  UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN and the “sir, put down that steak or you’ll hurt the planet and I’ll be forced to arrest you” department comes this study that blames beef for ruining the climate. The new guilt will likely be accompanied by a slogan such as “Grief, it’s whats for dinner” and “Let them eat kale!“.


20 percent of Americans responsible for almost half of US food-related greenhouse gas emissions

ANN ARBOR–On any given day, 20 percent of Americans account for nearly half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, and high levels of beef consumption are largely responsible, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan and Tulane University.

To estimate the impact of U.S. dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers built a database that assessed the environmental impacts involved in producing more than 300 types of foods. Then they linked the database to the findings of a nationally representative, one-day dietary recall survey involving more than 16,000 American adults.

They ranked the diets by their associated greenhouse gas emissions, from lowest to highest, then divided them into five equal groups, or quintiles. The researchers found that the 20 percent of U.S. diets with the highest carbon footprint accounted for 46 percent of total diet-related greenhouse emissions.

The highest-impact group was responsible for about eight times more emissions than the lowest quintile of diets. And beef consumption accounted for 72 percent of the emissions difference between the highest and lowest groups, according to the study.

“A big take home message for me is the fact that high-impact diets are such a large part of the overall contribution to food-related greenhouse gases,” said U-M researcher Martin Heller, first author of a paper scheduled for publication March 20 in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The study estimated the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production only. Emissions related to the processing, packaging, distribution, refrigeration and cooking of those foods were not part of the study but would likely increase total emissions by 30 percent or more, Heller said.

“Reducing the impact of our diets–by eating fewer calories and less animal-based foods–could achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It’s climate action that is accessible to everyone, because we all decide on a daily basis what we eat,” said Heller, a researcher at the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems in the School for Environment and Sustainability.

If Americans in the highest-impact group shifted their diets to align with the U.S. average–by consuming fewer overall calories and relying less on meat–the one-day greenhouse-gas emissions reduction would be equivalent to eliminating 661 million passenger-vehicle miles, according to the researchers.

That hypothetical diet shift, if implemented every day of the year and accompanied by equivalent shifts in domestic food production, would achieve nearly 10 percent of the emissions reductions needed for the United States to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, the authors wrote. Though President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the accord, many states and municipalities are still working to meet the emissions targets.

In the United States in 2010, food production was responsible for about 8 percent of the nation’s heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. In general, animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods. The production of both beef cattle and dairy cows is tied to especially high emissions levels.

For starters, cows don’t efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk, so they must eat lots of feed. Growing that feed often involves the use of fertilizers and other substances manufactured through energy-intensive processes. And then there’s the fuel used by farm equipment.

In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

“Previous studies of diet-related greenhouse gas emissions have focused mainly on the average diet in a given country. This study is the first in the United States to look instead at self-reported dietary choices of a nationally representative sample of thousands of Americans,” said Diego Rose, principal investigator on the project and a professor of nutrition and food security at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

By linking their database of environmental impacts to the individual, self-reported diets in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the U-M and Tulane researchers were able to estimate the distribution of diet-related impacts across the entire U.S. population on a given day.

They found that Americans in the highest-impact quintile consumed more than twice as many calories on a given day–2,984 versus 1,323–than those in the bottom 20 percent. But even when the findings were adjusted for caloric intake, the highest-impact quintile was still responsible for five times more emissions than the lowest-impact group.

Meat accounted for 70 percent of the food-associated greenhouse gas emissions in the highest-impact group but only 27 percent in the lowest-impact group.

NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey, which combines interviews and physical examinations, is a major program of the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

###

The study: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aab0ac/meta

Greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with production of individual self-selected US diets

Abstract

Human food systems are a key contributor to climate change and other environmental concerns. While the environmental impacts of diets have been evaluated at the aggregate level, few studies, and none for the US, have focused on individual self-selected diets. Such work is essential for estimating a distribution of impacts, which, in turn, is key to recommending policies for driving consumer demand towards lower environmental impacts. To estimate the impact of US dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and energy demand, we built a food impacts database from an exhaustive review of food life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and linked it to over 6000 as-consumed foods and dishes from 1 day dietary recall data on adults (N = 16 800) in the nationally representative 2005–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Food production impacts of US self-selected diets averaged 4.7 kg CO2 eq. person−1 day−1 (95% CI: 4.6–4.8) and 25.2 MJ non-renewable energy demand person−1 day−1 (95% CI: 24.6–25.8). As has been observed previously, meats and dairy contribute the most to GHGE and energy demand of US diets; however, beverages also emerge in this study as a notable contributor. Although linking impacts to diets required the use of many substitutions for foods with no available LCA studies, such proxy substitutions accounted for only 3% of diet-level GHGE. Variability across LCA studies introduced a ±19% range on the mean diet GHGE, but much of this variability is expected to be due to differences in food production locations and practices that can not currently be traced to individual dietary choices. When ranked by GHGE, diets from the top quintile accounted for 7.9 times the GHGE as those from the bottom quintile of diets. Our analyses highlight the importance of utilizing individual dietary behaviors rather than just population means when considering diet shift scenarios.
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146 thoughts on “Climate study: top 20% of U.S. diet blamed for majority of greenhouse gas emissions

    • A simpler answer would be kill all humans, and then the CO2 amount wouldn’t matter. And of course if we didn’t have any green house gases, then the gases would escape and we could be like Mars. Good work you guys.

      • This is exactly what it is all about. The catastrophic anthropogenic global warming/ “climate change” cult is Paganism all over again. Pagans just love killing others (especially those that oppose them) to appease the Gods and give them more power. Humans have NOT grown out of superstition- we like to think we have, but we are more gullible than ever before. This is evidenced by how many fall for the constant stream of propaganda and truly absurd scenarios of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Even though none of the predictions have come true, people continue to lap up the lies.

      • I wanna know who was being paid to follow behind the steers and measure their flatulence.
        Tried Kale once and had gas issues for several days

      • In the nineteenth century we had prophets and visionaries who gunned down the estimated fifty million buffalo roaming North America. The mindless and myopic may claim that this slaughter was sadistic and cruel, but in retrospect we now understand their genius and compassion as they knew that the massive herds of buffalo would bring an early doom to this planet.

      • You can add in the rise in Vegans which is the same self guilted groupings. In a recent irony the German government has put out a statement that vegan diet is dangerous, funny given the percentage of germans thought to be vegan (https://www.germanpulse.com/2016/09/12/controversial-report-germany-warns-vegan-lifestyle/)

        I suspect the government is just getting in, worried about climate action type law suits that they get dragged in as an accomplice when a pile of vegans either die or have serious problems in later life.

  1. Yikes! My cat just farted. I guess I’d better call the vet and have her euthanized to stop climate change. Oh wait, I just farted’ :)

  2. As if rice farming does not produce methane? But that would not appeal to the vegan biases of some compulsively chic academics.

    • So it appears. First my youngest brothers alma mater hires Michael Mann, then my alma mater hires Naomi Oreskes, and now my other brothers alma mater publishes this dreck.

      • “my other brothers alma mater publishes this dreck”

        ROTFLMAO your brother attended Environmental Research Letters ???
        .
        I didn’t think IOPScience took in students. (the publisher)

  3. Just for an instant make believe that you are an impressionable/gullible child or an undergrad ( same thing). Yea, I would be depressed and suicidal considering all the the guilt that I am being fed on a daily basis. No wonder there is an opioid crisis in the US today.

    • The opioid crisis is due to Obamacare’s “patient satisfaction” mandate. Hospital’s reimbursement is based, in part, on patient satisfaction scores, the more drugs you give them the happier they become. I had a friend who had outpatient surgery on his hip and they tried to prescribed a 60 day supply of Vicodin. He took a few Aleve and was walking a couple miles in 3 days.

      • Another incentive system gets gamed, to the surprise of exactly no-one.

        Here in OK, reaction to this has now made it harder for people with genuine chronic pain to get medicines that actually work for them, because of new knee-jerk “anything before narcotics” regulations on doctor prescriptions and outpatient clinics. And it’s maybe a two week supply at best when they do get them. Thanks Obama!

        Reminds me of the reaction to another drug crisis, where you can now only buy one small box of Sudafed at a time in stores here, because wanting more must mean you’re planning to cook meth with it. :|

  4. From the article: ‘methane … is a potent greenhouse gas’

    We have a new entry in the ‘Sensitivity’ scale of ‘greenhouse gases’? (other entries from earlier articles.)

    Carbon Dioxide is an ‘IMPORTANT’ greenhouse gas
    H2O is a ‘SIGNIFICANT’ greenhouse gas
    Methane is a ‘POTENT’ greenhouse gas

    The complete inability to quantify the purported ‘greenhouse gas’ property in any meaningful way is quite telling. How can those terms be compared and ordered?

    • Water vapor makes up 30 to 40% of our atmosphere, it can hold the heat or insulate, but never adds heat. Water is infamous for it’s cooling abilities.
      CO2 makes up 4/100 of 1% of our atmosphere. A very rare gas. It’s atmospheric affect is insignificant.
      Methane at 1.8 ppm, is four times less abundant than helium. 222 times less abundant than CO2. So rare that it is very difficult to measure let alone have any effect whatsoever in our atmosphere.
      Humans do not compete with cows for food. Cows turn useless hay and grass into a food product. A near perfect symbiotic relationship. If cows did not eat hay and grass, it would just lay on the ground rotting every winter, turning into methane anyway.

  5. “On any given day, 20 percent of Americans account for nearly half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions”

    In other words, on any given day 80% of Americans do not account for nearly half of U. S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions.

    When you have two wolves, a dark negative one and a bright positive one, which one will prevail?…….
    The one you feed the most.

  6. Feed ’em all heaping helpings of free range, humanely raised, all organic beans, with cabbage and kale… and plenty of beer to wash it all down. Then make sure their out of your house before the eructations and flatulence set in! ‘Lowest impact quintile’, my arse!

  7. Animals used for food are consuming plants that will one way or another become CO2 again. It is the natural cycle. The picking and choosing of measures to imply that all humans (excluding radical environmental vegans who hold their breath for 80% of the time) are a blight on the planet is a nice hobby for some jet setting academics but of absolutely no use to people just trying to live comfortable lives, or to those who live in deprivation and can only dream of living comfortable lives.

    • I’ve always found it amusing that these studies pretend the grass would simply die and become part of the soil without decomposition taking place. It’s up there logically with the melting permafrost will release gas department, ignoring that net carbon sequestration takes place when those soils are warm enough to support primary production. This train of thought shouldn’t pass for high school biology, but it’s published “science”. Yikes.

    • Grassland and pasture-land is a very good Carbon sink even if grazed on by cattle.

      This more than offsets (2 or 3 times higher) the methane released from the same cattle.

      I can guarantee you these researchers did not count the Carbon-sink from grassland. They never do because they are not real researchers. They are activists.

  8. “… if implemented every day of the year and accompanied by equivalent shifts in domestic food production, would achieve nearly 10 percent of the emissions reductions needed for the United States to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, the authors wrote.”

    OK, every stupid thing is on the table …

    How much of an emissions reduction would we get if 100% of the people, that are in the country illegally, would leave? If they went back to their country of origin would Mexico need to cut 100% of its meat production to meet Paris goals because of its increase in population?

    Should Mexico get some sort of a Paris Accord credit from El Salvador for facilitating the El Salvador population decrease, by allowing the El Salvador illegals a fairly free walk through and to the USA border?

    If logic says CEO’s get paid too much based on what they produce, then shouldn’t the author of this paper be required to pay everyone that reads it $25 for it’s lack of productive value?

    • Allenic: Reminds me of when I was a college student at Michigan, lived in the same dorm as football players. They got steak every day. We nerds in the Honors Program had to eat the often uneatable regular dorm food. I usually went to the snack bar in the basement and fed my brain with two hamburgers.

  9. “While the decline in beef availability from its peak of 88.8 pounds per person in 1976 to 51.5 pounds per person in 2014 is not a new story, availability of other red meats has dropped as well. Pork availability is down from an average 47.0 pounds per person from 1979 to 2010 to 43.1 pounds per person in 2014, and veal and lamb availability is down from 4.2 pounds per person in 1970 to 1 pound per person in 2014. Fish and shellfish availability, up from around 12 pounds per person in 1970, has fluctuated between 14.1 and 16.5 pounds since 1984 and was 14.5 pounds per person in 2014.”

    https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2017/januaryfebruary/us-per-capita-availability-of-red-meat-p

    • Mebbe there is a connection … has obesity risen in the USA since the 1970’s? Does it correlate with the reduction in real food consumption?

      (not talkn to u doreen)

    • USDA isn’t going to count the side of beef my wife and I bought which will exceed the 88.8 lbs.

      OTOH, what does the USDA have to say about the increase in consumption of Tide Pods?

  10. This is what the article from the other day about speciation reversal reminded me of.

    I think these wackos are suffering from acute species retrogradation — choosing to eat no meat and gradually reverting physiologically back to our ancient ancestor herbivore ape kin, starting with their cerebrum of course. Now we have generational herbivorism and it’s having a serious effect on cognition.

  11. It’s all fun and games till they mess with beef or porn, then the unwashed masses will show their muscle. Bring it on kaletards

  12. Someone once described puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” In that regard, vegans and climate activists are but rebranded Puritans. Insufferable pseudoreligious busybodies.

    • Not fair. Lots of people who choose diets different than yours do not care what you eat, or at least they’re not preaching . Some people just find that they feel better when they eat little or no meat, dairy, whatever. Often they are just people who are learning about health and nutrition.

      • Right on Albert! I chose to become vegetarian (i eat yogurt) 28 years ago because it was a natural progression and, honestly, my body just started saying “No”–taste and smell made me nauseous. This continued for 3 years until I finally stopped eating any kind of seafood. I’m 64, very in-shape, healthy and everyone tells me I look 1-2 decades younger. It’s absolutely the right choice for me to make on all levels, but I don’t preach to others. I figure everyone has to deal with their own karma.

        As someone who grew up on a small family farm in NC, factory farming is the big evil and the health of Americans is suffering because of it. Anyone who doesn’t see problems with raising thousands of head of cattle on a postage stamp size feed lot where the cows do nothing but eat corn (not what nature intended) and are allowed very little movement should take a drive on Interstate 5 past a massive feed lot near the town of King to witness a bit of hell on Earth. You can smell the foul air miles away. What initially looks like an ant hill buzzing with activity in the distance eventually comes into view, and you realize the cattle are so packed into the dense space that it’s difficult to distinguish one body from another. No wonder these animals living in such crowded conditions must be pumped full of antibiotics to prevent infections because of existing in such an unhealthy and unnatural environment.

        So, eat whatever you want, but don’t try to argue that the way animals are raised and processed these days is healthy for the environment or consumers in the USA where factory farming controls the food supply for the majority of the population. I’ll spare you the descriptions of the mega pig and chicken farms today. There’s plenty of reliable data on the environmental damage such large-scale operations produce.

      • @Henry Lewis
        I grew up on the tall grass prairie of Oklahoma, where all you could see for miles was grass and grazing cattle. I never heard the term, feed lot. A good portion of my neighbors had chickens roaming the yard.
        You make some good points, but there’s more than one thing going on.
        Ps I thought you weren’t going to preach.

  13. Back when I was minoring in anthropology I saw an estimate that when “native Americans” arrived in the New World their may have been a billion head of just bison, a ungulate and not the only ungulate. Similar the herds of ungulates in Africa were huge. There were ungulate herds on the Steppes Eurasia. Bison and I imagine the herds in Africa are more efficient converting grass to meat and milk. Yet the environmentalists do not want farmers raising bison because they may contaminate the genetics of wild bison.

  14. “the researchers built a database that assessed the environmental impacts involved in producing more than 300 types of foods”
    Admission to fabricating the entire study—built a database designed only to prove their conclusion. Nothing more. Walk away, nothing to see.

  15. To estimate the impact of U.S. dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers built a database …

    I like the kind of research where people actually touch stuff — soil, lab rats, humans, microscopes, gamma counters, scales, glassware, solvents, plants, instruments. You know, do experiments.

  16. I bet the folks who did the study are not strict vegetarians, typical liberal hypocrites, say one thing but do another.

    • “I bet the folks who did the study are not strict vegetarians”

      Or worse yet, they are and are trying to spread that plague to us carnivores.

      • Some animals we think of as carnivores would more accurately be described as lipovores. Many apex predators primarily eat the fat off their kills –the most energy-rich part and the easiest to get to–leaving most of the lean meat and offal to the scavengers.

  17. Sustainable Bafflegab is UN subversion grafted onto American Universities. Donald Trump, don’t pay for this ‘field office’ of the UN Bring-Down-America-Campaign, either. This is interference in American governance. America leads the world in CO2 emissions already – Enjoy your beef and speed up the effort to undo this ugly ‘progressives’ scourge. I look at the once great UK, now with rings in their noses cowering and obedient. An EU citizen was held in custody at Heathrow Airport until he could be sent back to Austria. He was to give a speech on free speech a Speakers Corner! This what they want for the US and they were maybe half way there before Trump.

  18. I’m sure this will be heart-warming news to these vego-fascists: “Soya has become the cash crop for half of Argentina’s arable land, more than 11m hectares (27m acres), most situated on fragile pampas lands on the vast plains. After Argentina’s economic collapse, soya became a vital cash export providing cattle feed for Europe and elsewhere.”
    Much better than maintaining it as grassland covered with hordes of farting cows.

    • Soy is primarily an oilseed, the world’s most common, in fact. It is a large component in the blended vegetable oils on the supermarket shelves.

      The soy-meal fed to cattle is the byproduct that remains after the oil is extracted. Canola meal and cottonseed meal are byproducts of the same process.

      They are valuable byproducts, but we should not kid ourselves that soy is grown “for cattle” when the most valuable product of soy is not the part fed to animals.

  19. As a veggie for 10+ years now I really get annoyed with people linking their cause to being veggie. I am okay if other people want to eat animals. That is their choice. Enjoy. If anyone is thinking of trying the veggie diet then make sure you get your B12 and EPA/DHA.

    • Just in your description you classed yourself as vegetarian NOT a vegan or similar grouping.

      Vegan is not only following a vegan diet but extending the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and they oppose the use of animals for any purpose.

      You are obviously an old school vegetarian but the new kids on the block have an activism belief under the dietary choice and you are as guilty as us meat eaters in their eyes.

      • they oppose the use of animals for any purpose.
        =========
        reminds me of all the horses liberated from pulling carts. only to find themselves turned into pet-food and glue.

        without a purpose animals quickly find themselves homeless without any visible means of support. unless they turn to drug dealing or prostitution it can be very hard to make a living.

      • Not just the new kids on the block.
        Back in the ’90s I spent time on AOL’s Pet Care Forums subsection “Animal Rights/Animal Welfare”.
        Lots of different kinds of vegetarians (octo-, lacto-, I forget the prefix’es for the vegetarians that allowed chicken and fish or just fish). They generally just tried to persuade but not force others to eat as they do.
        But the Vegans! They were full blown Animal Rights types. They’d ban owning pets and eating meat and the use of anything that had been tested on animals. They were the types that defended ALF when they burned or vandalized research labs.
        CO2 wasn’t evil back then. They argued that raising animals for food was using up all our water.
        I had lots of fun with them. 8-)

  20. Luckily we got rid of the Buffalo and the Woolly Mammoth. This saved the planet from almost as much hot air as the average climate conference.
    All the vegetation that does not get eaten will still decompose at a later date……… unless it gets turned into coal.

  21. This is only the beginning of the push to make people feel guilty about eating beef, chicken, turkey, etcetera. Of course there will be an environmentally and humanly responsible alternative. Namely industrial scale cultured-in-a-giant-vat faux “meat”products. Cheapest possible petrochemicals, soy, corn, wheat and sugar in and beeph schtake out. I can already taste the quality. It will be laced with the finest preservatives to keep it “fresh” in the tube at ambient temperature for extended periods. Move over soy burger…beeph schtake is here!!!

  22. Somebody ought to explain to them the carbon cycle.
    Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere which returns to the atmosphere either by rotting (eaten by bacteria) eaten by animals or eaten by us.
    The end result is the same.

    • “The transformation of waste is perhaps the oldest preoccupation of man” – Patti Smith. We were so stoned back in the day to break our girly lip-lock in order to appreciate the profoundness of her lyric as she DH’d her guitarist on stage.

  23. Is there no end to this ever rising elevator of peak stupidity? If WUWT readers in the USA feel fed-up, please remember we have half-wits being given coverage on the BBC in the UK who advocate scraping up roadkill and frying it as the only acceptable form of meat eating and actually trying it live on air.
    Momentarily it made the thought of eating recycled cardboard seem attractive by comparison, but only momentarily.

  24. reminded me of an article on theRegister site about a decade ago. Someone having fun with eBay. Item for sale was “Festive trouser pump”; article on theRegister was titled “Festive trouser pump wafts into eBay”

  25. Each day emissions equivalent to 661 million passenger miles of gas powered cars. Well,
    we’ll be driving electrics soon, and those miles can be driven from the power output of three typical light water nuclear reactors. Next problem?

  26. Ha! I miss grilling during the winter so this weekend when the temps got up in the mid 40’s I uncovered the grill for the first time this year and with a Jack & coke in hand got to grilling. The USDA PRIME Sirloins came out perfect and with the baked potato and salad of baby spinach and Radicchio with sliced black and green olives, artichoke hearts, avocado, and cherry tomatoes was the best meal we’ve had in a while.
    You’ll take my grilled steaks from my cold dead hands.

    [The mods request an immediate relief effort, easily faxed to the available list. .mod]

    • Put the grill in the motorhome and headed south. Do not miss winter.

      Here is the difference between a grilling over a camp fire or a grill on the left coast and in Louisiana. I grill the veggie burgers and dogs first as not to ‘contaminate’ them with meat. In Louisiana, we put veggies on the meat and in soup.

  27. Are there no honest statisticians? 30 seconds is all that is needed to see that the stats used in this study are designed to produce numbers, mostly percentages, that will make shocking headlines.
    Readers: Have at them — list the sneaky bits here below:

    • I’ve always felt that anyone who wants to be president enough to put up with a couple years of campaigning, isn’t qualified to be president.

      Maybe a lottery would be a better way to go.

      • MarkW ==> No, not a lottery…any of us could be forced to serve 4 years in the White House looney bin!

  28. NHANES misused once again. Based on past history NHANES based studies have about a 65% fail rate- saturated fats are bad FAIL, carbohydrates are good FAIL, butter is bad FAIL, sugar is bad-Half a fail, and more. Plus, people miss-report or don’t remember what they ate Food diaries are the absolute worst way to determine what people are eating. All the corrections and adjustments to the data won’t make it any more accurate.

    And anyway, there is much better data available from the USDA on farm production, shipments, imports and exports, and food waste for better data on what was ‘et.

    Personally, cooked beans are the biggest culprit, along with all the fossil fuel used in vegetable production.

  29. Why has no one stood up against the myth that CH4 is a significant greenhouse gas… The warmists cant agree on its relative potency… 13, to 28 times Co2… It points out that CO2 is pathetic as a warming gas. H2O completely obscures the absorption spectrum of CH4… Methane will never be significant unless the seas dry up

  30. My understanding is that a great portion of US beef consumption is in the form of manufacturing beef. This ends up in burgers, sausages e.t.c.

    It is also my understanding that most or this manufacturing beef is imported from countries like Brazil, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. Most of the cattle in these countries destined for manufacturing beef export are free range i.e. grassland raised.

    Therefore, there is little associated cultivation by machinery (compared to cereal production) during this system of beef production and a great portion of this grassland is not even fertilized.

    The data from which one can do calculations is all recorded on the internet should anyone want to do some research. I have better things to do right now.

    Whatever, I very much doubt that this study was based around actual facts relating to farming systems and the marketplace.

    Regards

    M

    • Someone locally here in Victoria, Australia, raises beautiful grass-fed cattle specifically for the USA market. They are very well cared-for and have a great life and the landowner is scrupulous in observing the rules to obtain the premium prices for them.

      • From New Zealand .We export beef ,lamb and venison to the world .99% is grass fed and you should see the steep green hills were the majority of the stock are born bred and fattened . Some of our hills are so steep that you cannot even ride a horse and the muster is done with dogs (the New Zealand huntaway ); There is no other use for this land except forestry or bee keeping .
        I have written before that the methane that farm animals release cannot add to green house gas levels as all the fodder that the animals eat has absorbed CO2 to grow .Methane breaks down in the upper atmosphere into CO2 AND WATER VAPOUR AND IS THEN ABSORBED BY PLANTS and the cycle continues ‘
        These intellectuals should try grass salad and leaf stew ,hay pudding and clover sausages .If grass is not consumed by herbivores it eventually rots with no economic benefit to anyone
        .I would say these researchers are anti meat ,anti milk and anti farmers .

      • Some of our hills are so steep that you cannot even ride a horse
        =====
        perfect snipe country. they are born with legs longer on one side than the other for walking on hill sides. annual snipe hunts remain ever popular.

  31. ‘one-day dietary recall survey involving more than 16,000 American adults.’

    Unverified.

    Not scientific data.

    The researchers were having fun, not science.

    • One of many key phrases: “one-day”. Which day? Thanksgiving? Easter? Christmas? Shrove Tuesday? Ash Wednesday? Fourth of July? Consumption on a single day is not necessarily representative of consumption throughout the year.

      Research design fail.

      P.S. Wasn’t there a similar flaw in some “landmark” nutritional study? The oh-so-healthy people with the “best diet” turned out to have been surveyed during Lent, and actually ate completely differently the rest of the year?

    • Ferdberple
      Aye man we set out to breed a hill cow with their right legs six inches shorter than their left legs .It worked well and they grazed across the steepest slopes but when they came to a vertical fence they turned and rolled to the bottom .

  32. Once a week I make a 12 quart pot of “soup” (that’s maybe more like a thick stew).

    I use:

    2 lbs of BEEF
    2 lbs of KALE
    2 lbs of mushrooms
    4 cups of pinto bean
    4 cups of brown rice
    2 large onions
    2 bulbs of garlic
    3 red bell peppers
    1 5.5lb bag of mixed frozen vegetables from Costco (best value on the planet)
    1/3 lb of bacon
    1 stick of butter
    1/3 cup of olive oil
    4 cans of tomato sauce
    4 cans of diced tomatoes
    various seasonings

    It is inexpensive, extremely nutritious, quick to make, quick to heat up, easy to clean up, and absolutely delicious.

    I have two massive bowls a day, and count the seconds until my next bowl.

    I just got in from a 3 hour mountain bike ride, and am going to sit down to a bowl in 3, 2, 1 …

    • Okay, I’m answerting Max Photon’s challenge with my 16-bean soup recipe:

      Soak 1 pound (16 ox) of 16-bean mix in water in a covered stock pot or dutch oven overnight (8PM to 8AM)

      Check early to see if any beans are still floating. If so, scoop them out and toss them.

      Drain the water and return all beans to the pot.

      Add the following:

      28 ounces of beef stock
      28 ounces of chicken stock
      one large chopped onion
      1 pound of baby carrots
      one entire bunch of celery, washed and chopped, including leaves
      2 cups (16 oz) chopped smoked ham (plus a ham bone if you have one)
      Garlic salt, onion powder, Mrs. Dash/Garlic-Herb, thyme, oregano, chopped parsley, a small amount of chili powder, and (if you can find it) smokey mesquite-flavor seasoning

      Stir thoroughly, cover, and simmer on LOW. Check every half hour while you fix cornbread, crudites, and cheddar biscuits. Put a big bowl of real tortilla chips on the table.
      Sit down with a good book and enjoy your meal. And for afters, whatever your heart enjoys the most.

      • Okay then:

        Pour 1.5 oz gin into a highball glass.
        Add 1 oz grenadine.
        Add 1 oz sweet & sour mix.
        Add 3 oz club soda.

        Do not stir/mix.

        Add ice cubes as desired (I add 5).

        Add 1.5 oz. Heering Cherry Liqueur. Note how it disperses
        without mixing.

        Let chill for a few minutes, then enjoy while you cook your beans.

  33. When cattle is grass fed, they eat something that you need to be a ruminant, with a multi chambered stomach, to be able to digest the grass, or you starve to death. The cattle eat something inedible to humans, then we eat the cattle. If the grassland is not grazed upon, the grass grows too long and dies. Sounds like a win/win/win to me, well maybe not for the cattle.

  34. All in all, stories like this just make me really rather (very) sad. For several reasons.

    Initially, how did these people come to exist in such a vanishingly small world – a world filled with so much negativity.
    It’s the complete opposite of what I always understood universities to be about.

    Mostly, having been a ‘cow farmer’ since forever, I feel sad for the cows. Seeing the small herd there is just along the lane from here (Notts is NOT livestock country) – they have an air about them. an air of ‘right’ ‘correct’ ‘good’ and ‘self confidence’
    They know what they’re doing there, they know all bout weather, climate, dirt, water, what’s good to eat and generally how to look after themselves. That includes their management of the soil & plants.

    then we come along and tell them what for.
    we tell/force them what grass to eat – they burp when otherwise wouldn’t. We laugh.
    We force them to eat (lightly) processed starch – they put on fat and get diabetes.
    How dumb is it possible for humans to be/
    But then it gets completely off-the-scale worse because when we come to eat them, we actually throw the very best bits away. The fat mostly of course.

    And yet, the cows don’t seem to mind. that’s what gives them that ‘air’ They are on a different plane of intelligence to us. So calm, so forgiving yet so strong.

    The University tells us about ‘Paris Agreement’
    Yeah right. You try to take butter out of a Frenchman’s diet and you really will have a war on your hands.

    Next, the prickly mention of Malthus – starvation.
    There are, even on ebay, gadgets that will measure your own personal level of ‘starvation’. Should you be curious. About £40 on ebay UK will get you a little finger pricking device to measure your LDL cholesterol.
    How?
    The ultimate say on what is or is not good to eat is your own liver – especially when it is tasked with mobilising fat. It does that by attaching protein molecules to the fat to make the fat water soluble.
    Your liver determines what is and what is not protein when it does this.
    If it has insufficient of the correct protein, it will struggle along and make LDL (low protein) cholesterol instead of the preferred HDL (high) protein cholesterol.
    Thus, the little device from ebay (Amazon or wherever), by recording the presence and amount of LDL, effectively tells you how starved you are of the correct sort of protein. Typivcally of course, animal derived protein.
    It does not matter what the doctors, scientists, universities, health carers say, you own liver is the final arbiter.
    Plant protein just does not cut it. And you know that – its what makes flatulence so smelly, anaerobically decomposing protein.

    So. Are you windy. Does the room empty when you drop one?
    Is there much LDL circulating inside you right now?
    Even very small amounts say that you are, in effect, in a starvation situation.

  35. We’re still waiting to see any proof that CO2 causes harmful climate effects. Until then, speculations like this one are idle chatter.

    • YES – this. The whole “study” is much ado about nothing, because there is not a scrap of empirical evidence that CO2 or methane has any measurable effect on temperature in the Earth’s atmosphere. Closed containers of a fixed size, not subject to atmospheric processes and not open to the vacuum of space need not apply.

  36. Growing that feed [for cattle] often involves the use of fertilizers and other substances manufactured through energy-intensive processes. And then there’s the fuel used by farm equipment.

    In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

    So let me get this straight. If we grow more plant food for humans so we can stop eating animals, we won’t need to use all those fertilizers and farm equipment that it takes to produce animal food. Right… Out here in the west, many cattle graze on the vegetation that grows naturally on public lands. No fertilizers or farm equipment needed. If those cows were not there, the public lands would not stop growing grasses or other plants. And the uneaten plants would die and decay or burn up in wild fires and produce the same greenhouse gasses that cows release when digesting them. So I don’t see how we gain much by not eating beef. Those calories would have to be replaced with something. And that something is usually more labor intensive and requires the same or more fertilizer and farm equipment than feed grown for animals. I would rather let animals eat the plants for me and turn them into something more palatable for me to eat. This study is not accounting for everything. They deliberately leave out things that could change their predetermined conclusion.

  37. What I find really funny is that the gaseous emissions of domestic cattle (and pigs, sheep, etc) apparently count as sources of methane but yet for some odd reason, the emissions of all of the billions of wild hoofed animals in the African plains are conveniently forgotten. And these environutters also seem to forget that America’s plains (both north and south) were once every bit as biologically rich (if not more so) in large herds of plant eaters as is east Africa today. So what about megafauna methane emissions? IMO today’s cattle herds would have a hard time holding a candle (emission-wise) to the endless herds of herbivores that once roamed much of North America.

    • A few years ago I read an article (I think it was in the Veterinary Record) explaining how the reduction in Arctic ice allows the numbers of Reindeer to increase as more grass is exposed and that the resulting increase in methane emissions further speeds up the ice retreat allowing a further increase in the numbers of Reindeer……..

      Do Polar bears eat Reindeer?

      Susan

  38. I have about 8 pounds of beef in the freezer, waiting for use. I use a lot of chicken in cooking, but I’m really up for a few beef pasties. Found a recipe that will work nicely. Beef, turnips (for flavor), onions, shredded carrots, all wrapped up in a pastry crust – what’s not to like?
    And butter? I will never give up butter. Butter is better. Margarine will do nothing but destroy your liver and clog your arteries. Nor will I give up aged cheddar cheese from Transylvania, parmagiano Reggiano, or double creme brie on a good crusty bread with a nice glass of wine. Those crabby coots hiding in closets, mumbling ‘meat bad, sawdust good’ to themselves can go pound sand right up their spinal columns.
    I expect to outlive all of them.
    Please let me know where they end up being buried when they shuffle off this troublesome mortal coil. I will have a nice glass of Tuscan red, some bodacious double creme brie on a crusty peasant loaf, and radishes and giggle at them.

    • Next time you have company over, try Fondue Bourgeignon (sp?). Fill a deep frypan with clarified butter (milk fat that’s been separated from the milk solids — has a higher smoking point that regular melted butter, and just as much flavor) and heat it to sizzling. Slice fresh beefsteak into cubes or strips, and get out everybody’s favorite condiments and beef accompaniments. Arrange it all on the table, leaving a trivet in the center to (carefully!) set the pan of hot butter fat.

      Everybody can now take a long fork or skewer (preferably with a cool handle), spear a piece of beef, and cook it in the frypan to the degree of doneness they each prefer. Move the cooked piece to your plate, spear another and start it cooking while you enjoy the first.

      For a large gathering, keep a second pan of clarified butter hot on the stovetop, and switch it out with the one on the table when that one starts to cool.

  39. AGW theory is that carbon in fossil fuels were sequestered from the surface-atmosphere carbon cycle for millions of years and that therefore they do not belong in the current account of the carbon cycle. It is thus proposed that the sudden injection of large quantities of this external underground carbon, into the carbon cycle may act as an artificial and unnatural perturbation of the carbon cycle and climate system. This is the fundamental issue in AGW & the rationale for the concern expressed by Callendar, Keating, & Revelle and codified and quantified by Manabe, Charney, & Hansen into the modern version of AGW theory.

    In this context, the conversion of carbon in vegetation into carbon in methane gas and its rapid oxidation by atmospheric oxygen into CO2 are events in the current account of the carbon cycle. These events do not constitute an injection of external underground carbon into the carbon cycle but rather conversion of carbon already in the carbon cycle from one form to another.

    It appears that anti-carbon zealotry and activism have gotten ahead of themselves. The zealots have forgotten their own settled science in their intense desire to save the planet from humans. The emotional needs of anti carbon activists have apparently become part of climate science.

    In any case the data do not show that atmos methane, net of its known oxidation rate, is responsive to bovine methane emissions. It is possible that the movement against beef in the name of climate change may have its emotional origins in vegetarianism.
    https://ssrn.com/abstract=2674147

  40. In my experience, eating beans instead of beef merely shifts those methane emissions from one species to another.

  41. I grill, smoke, roast, simmer, and fry fish, chicken, pork, turkey, beef, venison, shellfish, and mutton year round. Elk also, when I’m lucky! Smoke grilled fresh black mouth salmon last Sunday and grilled chicken tonight. I’ll keep them on my personal menu, knowing that any nebulously related CO2 emissions are much needed for plant food as soon as spring arrives again, … and virtue signalling vegans be damned!

  42. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) in the US have zero discharge permits for nutrients (aka fertilizer). What that is called for college students is recycling. Composted manure is a very good fertilizer.

    The CAFOs that I have visited carefully controlled feeding for a balanced diet. The result is affordable high quality meat.

    One other interesting thing is a warehouse for hay being shipped to Japan. I have frequented Japanese steak house in China when on expense account. Now I am wondering if it was not the same as Washington State feedlot beef. Is it the location of the crop or cow?

    Also enjoyed a steak at an Outback in Singapore.

  43. 70% of the earth’s surface is classified as “Rangeland”. It is not suitable for the growing of intensive vegetable or grain crops. Not only can the livestock that graze this land not be replaced with plant foods, but the natural wildlife will fill the niche and do exactly what cattle and sheep do.

    Nearly 90% of the fodder eaten by cattle and sheep is not human-quality food. It doesn’t matter how “inefficient” you think they are, not feeding cattle does not make their food available for humans….. it just wastes what could have been turned into edible protein.

  44. For starters, cows don’t efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk.
    ===========
    really? you try eating grass for every meal and you will starve to death.

    the reason you eat beef is that cattle can grow on land that will not grow enough food that humans can eat. eating cattle allows people to live on land that would not otherwise support humans.

    quite simply the earth is too cold to allow humans to live off the land outside the tropics on a vegetarian diet. fossil fuels and industrial society allow vegetarians to exist outside the tropics. otherwise we would need draft animals and millions of acres of pasture to provide the energy to grown and transport food and all the GHG these animals would produce.

  45. I’m sure that eskimos/inuits (or whatever is PC) in Greenland/Alaska/Canada and lapps in Norway/Sweden/Finland/Russia would find it quite suitable to live on a vegetarian diet…..

  46. OK, I will stop eating beef and instead will eat Lamb. Cute, fuzzy, tasty Lamb. I hope they are happy.

  47. If The They want to save the planet from those nasty Humans, why don’t they volunteer to be the first to go?

    I don’t think any of us would miss them and the rest of us could just get on with our lives.

    As many extra-solar planetary systems as are being looked at now, many of them containing rocky worlds, with the idea that at some point we might relocate and settle there, what are these non-thinkers going to do to stop us if we have the means to leave?

  48. Prosperity, freedom, good food, the choice to ‘keep our thermostat at 70 degrees’ – anything that improves the human condition is the enemy of progressive greenies.

    So who’s the real enemy here?

  49. We don’t need to eat meat in order to live. It is the animal fats that give us diabetes. So just the health aspect alone would be worth it.

    • ” It is the animal fats that give us diabetes”

      That is 101% false. High glycemic index carbohydrates ( above 50 ) cause blood sugar spikes and uncontrolled hunger. Most diabetes can be reversed by a ketogenic diet.

    • The counterbalance is that the demand for non-meat protein sources would skyrocket in a vegan utopia, and among the vegans I’ve met, source enough cost-effective, non-meat protein is the hardest problem they haven’t solved. The body needs protein for many things but especially tissue growth and repair, and possibly most importantly, the body defense systems. Take away a cost-effective source of protein, such as meat, without an equal or superior alternative and humanity ends up paying for it with deadly pandemics from the common cold. That alone defeats the “health aspect” benefit that a meatless world would supposedly bring.

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