20% Americans are responsible for almost half of US food-related greenhouse gas emissions

20 percent of U.S. diets with the highest carbon footprint accounted for 46 percent of total diet-related greenhouse gas emissions.

A University of Michigan and Tulane University study showed that the 20 percent of U.S. diets with the highest carbon footprint accounted for 46 percent of total diet-related greenhouse gas emissions. Image credit: Martin Heller
A University of Michigan and Tulane University study showed that the 20 percent of U.S. diets with the highest carbon footprint accounted for 46 percent of total diet-related greenhouse gas emissions. Image credit: Martin Heller

A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan and Tulane University suggests that On any given day, 20 percent of Americans account for nearly half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, and high levels of beef consumption are largely responsible.

Scientists estimated the impact of U.S. dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions. Based on that, scientists developed a database that assessed the environmental impacts involved in producing more than 300 types of foods. They then linked the database to the findings of a nationally representative, one-day dietary recall survey involving more than 16,000 American adults.

They positioned the weight control plans by their related ozone-harming substance emanations, from most reduced to most noteworthy, at that point partitioned them into five equivalent gatherings, or quintiles. The specialists found that the 20 percent of U.S. diets with the most noteworthy carbon impression represented 46 percent of aggregate eating routine related greenhouse emissions.

Scientists found that the highest-impact group was responsible for about eight times more emissions than the lowest quintile of diets. Furthermore, hamburger utilization represented 72 percent of the emanations distinction between the most elevated and lower groups.

U-M researcher Martin Heller, first author of a paper scheduled for publication March 20 in the journal Environmental Research Letters said, “A big take-home message for me is the fact that high-impact diets are such a large part of the overall contribution to food-related greenhouse gases.”

“Reducing the impact of our diets—by eating fewer calories and less animal-based foods—could achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It’s climate action that is accessible to everyone because we all decide on a daily basis what we eat.”

Scientists suggest, On the off chance that Americans in the most astounding effect gather moved their eating methodologies to line up with the U.S. normal—by expending less general calories and depending less on meat—the one-day ozone-depleting substance emanations decrease would be identical to dispensing with 661 million traveler vehicle miles.

Diego Rose, principal investigator on the project said, “Previous studies of diet-related greenhouse gas emissions have focused mainly on the average diet in a given country. This study is the first in the United States to look instead at self-reported dietary choices of a nationally representative sample of thousands of Americans.”

By linking their database of environmental impacts to the individual, self-reported diets in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the U-M and Tulane researchers were able to estimate the distribution of diet-related impacts across the entire U.S. population on a given day.

They found that Americans in the highest-impact quintile consumed more than twice as many calories on a given day—2,984 versus 1,323—than those in the bottom 20 percent. But even when the findings were adjusted for caloric intake, the highest-impact quintile was still responsible for five times more emissions than the lowest-impact group.

Meat accounted for 70 percent of the food-associated greenhouse gas emissions in the highest-impact group but only 27 percent in the lowest-impact group.

The study is published in journal Environmental Research Letters.