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Eating is worse for the planet than driving. (Update: No, it's not.)

The food eaten by a typical US household involves the creation of 8.1 tons per year of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. [Link repaired 1/26/2011.] (Methane and nitrous oxide, which are also GHGs, are more important in the food chain than CO2 itself.) About 83 percent of the food-related GHGs are generated in the growing and harvesting of food, and about half of that is associated with red meat and dairy products. Only 11 percent of the GHGs are generated in transportation of food, with the 6-percent balance presumably associated with processing and packaging. In contrast, a typical automobile driven 12,000 miles per year at 25 MPG emits "only" 4.4 tons of CO2. I doubt the pending cap-and-trade legislation covers cows. Thanks to Ezra Klein's blog for this information. The graphic is from the CMU report.

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Reader Comments (1)

I must have been traveling when you wrote this. I missed it. Thanks for the clarification. I also wonder if the increased methane emissions being released from the north are changing percentages anyway.

Anyway, as one of your readers, I liked the crack at the end also.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

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