The good grey Times tells us that we can do more to reduce global warming by becoming vegetarian (or at least cutting down on meat) than we can by buying a hybrid automobile. Aw shucks, most people would rather have the Prius than give up the steaks….
To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
They also point out that the meat industry contributes more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the transportation sector. Would you like fries with that?