What’s the beef? Beef, methane gas, and consumption

Beef, specifically cows are hurting the planet as people increase consumption of veal and beef products across the global. Methane emissions (gas and feces) from livestock is a huge contributor to climate change as the world around us is changing for the worse.

Nowadays, a major problem with livestock is the larger number of animals produced and in turn a need for higher food supply, which then produces emissions. According to Forbes, in 2011 “livestock were responsible for roughly 120 million grams of methane” and that methane is then stored in pits where bacteria can mingle and produce more methane affecting the climate.

Why does this matter?

Fortune estimated that consumers would eat “222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry” in 2018 despite the rise in alternative meat options and now according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 41% of emissions come from beef respectively.

The U.S. eats more beef than any other country in the world and consumption is expect to rise of the decade and this is even with people shifting diets in the U.S., so beef is not going anywhere. As a result, methane will continue to warm the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Even though these studies show an increase in beef consumption and its effects on the climate it does not mean that people should stop eating meat completely. However, consumption and production must change to reverse the warming climate. So there is a need for innovative thinking via researchers, food tech startups, government and non-profit organizations to explore how the globe can successfully reduce climate change.

 

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