A thorough study of the most commonly eaten foods has revealed which ones are best and which ones are worst for global warming. . . . From its beginnings on the farm to its ending on your plate, the mostenvironmentally unfriendly food is lamb. Lamb contributes 39.2kg of green house gas emissions. The second most damaging food is beef at 27kg. The third and fourth worst foods are cheese, at 13.5, and pork, at 12.1. Turkey contributes 10.9kg, chicken 6.9, tuna 6.1 and eggs 4.8. The list of foods that are healthiest for the environment is dominated by plant foods. Potatoes contribute 2.9kg; rice 2.7; nuts 2.3; yogurt 2.2; broccoli, tofu and beans contribute only 2kg; milk causes 1.9, tomatoes 1.1 and lentils only .9.

Unlike meat, most CO2 emissions from plant foods occur during processing after leaving the farm; for example, during the unavoidable cooking. 90% of potatoes' emissions, 65% of beans' emissions and 59% of lentils' occur in the processing.

The study concluded that beef creates thirteen times the green house gas emission that vegetable proteins like beans, lentils and tofu do. It summarized by saying that if every person in America went vegetarian, as far as the environment goes, that would be the equivalent of taking 46 million cars off the road (Environmental Working Group 2011, "What You Eat Matters").

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