Akshat Rathi for Bloomberg Green:
For beef from herds grown for meat, transport makes up only an average of 0.5% of its emissions. Each kilogram of beef produces 60 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (CO2e), the majority of which comes from the methane that cows belch when alive.
Across the complete supply chain, each kilogram of avocados produces 2.5 kg of CO2e emissions. Of that, transport costs are less than 10%. Importing Mexican avocados to the UK generates 0.21 kg of CO2e.
Such is beef’s carbon impact that, in the US, a consumer who eats vegetables instead of one day’s worth of beef calories would have a greater impact on reducing emissions than buying all food from local sources, according to a 2008 study. […]
The real takeaway from the research is that 1 kg of animal-based foods generate between 10 times and 50 times as much greenhouse-gas impact as plant-based products.
I can’t believe how little eating local factors into emissions, but this is staggering.
In an analysis published last week, Ritchie finds that transport’s contribution to any food’s overall carbon footprint is tiny. “For most food products, it accounts for less than 10%” Ritchie concluded, based on data collected from 38,000 commercial farms in 119 countries.
It really is about WHAT you eat, not HOW it gets to you.