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Pound of beef produces 36 pounds of CO2 emissions

Pound of beef produces 36 pounds of CO2 emissions

Pound of beef produces 36 pounds of CO2 emissions
July 18, 2007

The production of a kilogram of beef is results in more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving a car for 3 hours while leaving all the lights at home, concludes a new study led by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan. The research is detailed in this week’s issue of New Scientist Magazine.

Ogino and colleagues assessed the impact of calf production on greenhouse gas emissions, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption. They included the effects of the transportation of the animals’ feed in their calculations.

The researchers found that the production of one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef “leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms (80 pounds) of carbon dioxide,” writes Daniele Fanelli. Production also releases the equivalent of 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, while consuming 169 megajoules of energy.

“In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days,” Fanelli continues.

The study did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, elements that would add further emissions.

Ogino says that swtching to grass-fed beef, improving waste management, and “shortening the interval between calving” could reduce emissions and energy usage.

New Scientist Magazine

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