Diet-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down

Anthropocene: A 15-year snapshot of US diets reveals a gradual shift away from beef

By using data from a national dietary survey of US adults between 2003 and 2018, and conducting a life cycle analysis on the reported foods, the researchers found that the diet-related greenhouse gas emissions of US citizens almost halved, falling from 4 kilograms of CO2 equivalent to 2.45 kg CO2e over the 15 year study period.

The main reason for this decline emerged clearly in the data: over this same period, daily beef consumption plummeted by an average 40% per person, which accounted for nearly half of the diet-related dip in emissions. But it wasn’t just beef: the data showed a slow shift away from all animal-based foods, including dairy, eggs, chicken, and pork—all of which US citizens gradually consumed less of in 2018 than 2003.