Eating beans instead of beef could reduce U.S. GHG emissions by 75 percent

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In California, researchers suggest that the U.S. could realize approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020, if only Americans would eat beans instead of beef. Researchers from four American universities, headed by Loma Linda University researcher Helen Harwatt, PhD, explained that beef cattle are the most GHG-intensive food to produce and that the production of legumes (beans, peas, etc.) results in one-fortieth the amount of GHGs as beef.

In addition to reducing GHG, the team concluded that shifting from animal-sourced to plant-sourced foods could help avert global temperature rise. The study also found that substituting beans for beef production would free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland under cultivation — a total of more than 400 million square acres.

Harwatt applauds the fact that more than a third of American consumers are already purchasing plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture.