A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has found that beef consumption in the United States dropped by nearly 20 percent between 2005 and 2014.
This amounts to a decrease in diet-related carbon emissions equivalent to taking 39 million cars off the road.
The report states:
The most impactful diet adjustments relate to the reduced consumption of specific products. For starters, Americans consumed 19 percent less beef, avoiding an estimated 185 MMT of climate-warming pollution or roughly the equivalent of the annual tailpipe pollution of 39 million cars.
Reduced consumption of products such as “milk, pork, shellfish, and high fructose corn syrup” accounts for emissions cuts equivalent to taking another 18 million cars off the road, according to NRDC.
Climate change is easily one of the biggest issues threatening our very existence on the planet, and animal agriculture is among the leading causes.
The drop in emissions from reduced beef consumption is encouraging. But many people ended up eating more of other carbon-intensive foods, such as dairy:
While we reduced our consumption of beef and other carbon-intensive products, Americans ate significantly more dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and butter between 2005 and 2014. Dairy products are sourced through the same or similar climate-change pollution-intensive supply chain as beef, resulting in relatively high emissions for these products.
The best action we can take to fight climate change (and protect animals suffering in factory farms) is to ditch meat and other animal products in favor of humane and sustainable plant-based foods.
Click here for delicious vegan recipes, meal ideas, and tips on making the switch.