"The total area dedicated to grazing encompasses 26% of the terrestrial surface of the planet."
This is just one of the startling facts in an important article in NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol. 4, Jan. 2014. The article is titled: "Ruminants, Climate Change and Climate Policy." Click here to see a pdf of the article.
Here are some more startling facts from the article (clarifications from me in parentheses):
- "Ruminant production (the raising of cattle, sheep, goats and bison) is the largest source of anthropogenic (human-caused) CH4 (methane) emissions."
- "The greenhouse gas footprint of consuming ruminant meat is, on average, 19-48 times higher than that of high-protein foods obtained from plants when full life cycle analysis including both direct and indirect environmental issues from 'farm to fork' for enteric fermentation, manure, feed, fertilizer, processing transportation and land-use change are considered. Non-ruminant meats such as those from pigs and poultry and marine fisheries have a lower carbon equivalent footprint, although they still average 3-10 times greater than high-protein plant foods."
- "...we need to increase awareness among the public and policymakers that what we choose to eat has important consequences for climate change."
Linda DeStefano, Chair, Biodiversity/Vegetarian Outreach Committee