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Wheres The Beef?


Economist Nathan Fiala of the University of California at Irvine has a beef...about beef.

Specifically, he's concerned about the impact producing beef has on warming the atmosphere. How much impact? All-told, producing a pound of beef generates the equivalent of 14.8 pounds of carbon dioxide: more than 36 times the amount emitted by producing asparagus!

Producing one pound of beef protein, experts say, requires more than 10 pounds of plant protein. Combine everything that's needed to grow a cow and you've got one heifer-sized carbon footprint.

What can be done? Fiala says for one thing, we could all beef up a bit on our understanding. So he's created a "Greenhouse Burgers" web site that features a burger impact calculator. Visitors can select their favorite fast-food eatery, type in the number of burgers they eat in a month, and discover how their burger habit affects the planet.

For example, producing one "Whopper," according to the calculator, generates carbon emissions comparable to driving a car 64 miles.

What to do? Fiala says that eating less beef might help.

But if you do, maybe you could at least walk to your favorite restaurant.

Script by Bob Rhein

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