Lettuce three times worse for the climate than bacon


There’s a lot of talk about meat being bad for the climate, due to production of greenhouse gases. But if you compare calorie for calorie it turns out that many vegetables are actually worse.

For example, growing lettuce produces three times more greenhouse gases than the same amount of bacon.

Scientific American: Lettuce Produces More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Bacon Does

While the threat of climate change is probably very real, there’s a big misunderstanding around meat. Greenhouse gases, like methane, from flatulence in cows are seen as a big threat. This not only sounds silly, it’s actually not a major problem.

The methane turns into carbon dioxide within 10 years or so in the atmosphere, and then it’s absorbed into the grass that other cows will eat. It’s all part of a cycle. The amount of carbon added to the atmosphere long term? ZERO.

Compare that to burning fossil fuels, like coal or oil. This means digging up stored carbon and adding it to the atmosphere. It will take millions of years to get rid of it. That is carbon we may be stuck with for the duration of civilization. This is the problem.

The solution to the climate problem is burning less fossil fuel. It will probably be possible to replace that soon, mostly with rapidly improving solar panels and batteries and electric vehicles.

The solution to the climate problem is not eating less meat. It’s not even to eat less lettuce. It’s all about not burning fossil fuels.


How Cows Could Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change

In Defense of Low Fat – Denise Minger vs. Dr. Fung

Can Giving Up Grains Cause Cancer?

Asian Meat Eaters Are Healthier!


  1. Pierre
    There is no problem, except stupid politics.

    "Human Emissions Saved Planet

    Over the past 150 million years, carbon dioxide had been drawn down steadily (by plants) from about 3,000 parts per million to about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth. Human fossil fuel use and clearing land for crops have boosted carbon dioxide from its lowest level in the history of the Earth back to 400 parts per million today.

    At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of carbon dioxide for plant growth, given enough water and nutrients, is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today. Greenhouse growers inject carbon-dioxide to increase yields. Farms and forests will produce more if carbon-dioxide keeps rising.

    We have no proof increased carbon dioxide is responsible for the earth’s slight warming over the past 300 years. There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the carbon dioxide ever emitted. Carbon dioxide is vital for life on Earth and plants would like more of it. Which should we emphasize to our children?"


    Replies: #7, #16
  2. alta
  3. Christoph
    Going to DietDoctor.com and finding a link to the greatest genius on earth, Elon Musk.
    What a great day! :D
    Replies: #4, #8
  4. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    The greatest genius on earth? I agree.
  5. bill
    Anyone who has 5 children is neither
    a genius nor understands environmental
  6. Deidre
    Fantastic news finally some common sense thank you Andreas and Allan Savory.
  7. John
    Pierre, you are absolutely right!!!
    Reply: #10
  8. John
    Musk a genius??
    Because he robbed the American tax payer of billions of dollars for his toy car full of non recyclable chemical batteries? Did you ever see an lithium battery catch fire?
    Reply: #9
  9. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Of course it's recyclable and the risk of damage from fire is way smaller than in a gasoline car.

    Did you ever see gasoline catch fire?

  10. Pierre
    What politicians do not tell to the ignorant masses.

    Conclusions (page 84)

    Thus, assuming that the relationship between GDP and CO2 emissions is relatively fixed – as does EIA and IEA, then to achieve the goal to reduce GHGs to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 will require that world 2050 GDP be reduced to about four percent of what it is projected to be.

    In other words, to achieve the implied GHG reduction goal to reduce GHGs to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 implies that world living standards in 2050 would be reduced to a level they were more than two centuries prior.

    Virtually all of the economic gains of the industrial revolution and everything that followed would be nullified and instead of people enjoying the living standards of the 2050’s, they would have to endure the living standards of the 1820s.

    Average world per capita GDP would be reduced to levels currently below those of the most impoverished nations, such as Yemen, Bangladesh, North Korea, and Haiti, and many of the less developed nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America would experience per capita GDP levels less than half of the 2013 per capita levels of the these poorest nations


    Reply: #11
  11. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Forget about it. Why should GDP and CO2 relationship be fixed? Ever heard of sustainable energy production? Solar energy used to be ineffective and expensive but now it's rapidly becoming cheaper and will soon be cheaper than coal. And about zero emissions.

    It's called progress. The industrial revolution was hundreds of years ago, time to move on into the future now.

    Reply: #12
  12. Pierre
    GDP and CO2 relationship are not necessary fixed, but are related. It can't be zero

    Their goals are ridiculous and unreachable, that's the document says.
    Behind CO2 reduction, there is population control.

    We are already brain washed by the "elite" that meat is bad and people should eat instead insect, soy or grains to replace meat. What will be the next step?

    Also the temperature did not increase since ~ 2000


    Much of the time Earth was much warmer than today and nobody complained . Also on the graph you can see there is no correlation between CO2 concentration and the temperature. Actually Earth is abnormally cold. The Earth climate is more complex than just CO2 concentration.


    Look how Henrik Svensmark has been ridiculed.


    Reply: #13
  13. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Burning all fossil fuels is a stupid and dangerous experiment. We know we will run out of them anyway, so why not transition faster to sustainable fuels – then we avoid any risk of massive climate change, coastal cities being flooded etc.

    We're going to have to change anyway. It's just a question of how much carbon we'll pollute the atmosphere with first.

    Let's stop playing Russian roulette with nothing very significant to win.

  14. Pierre
    "Burning all fossil fuels is a stupid and dangerous experiment."

    Without fossil fuel, earth population would be around 1 billion people and not 7,3 billions.

    You would use a horse to travel and candles to light at night and a chemey to cook and stay warm during the night or winter.

    If you got sick with a virus or a bacteria you would have good chance not getting through.
    The good side would be all people would eat healthy food.

    The only thing I agree, is that burning fossil fuel to produce electricity is stupid. We should have made the transition to nuclear power, but even that greens are against that.

    Look what the germans are doing, they shutting down their nuclear plants and dig the ground to burn coal.


    Watch the documentary of Henrik Svensmark you will learn there is not only one truth.

  15. Paul Allen
    I thought it was more to do with the extreme amount of food livestock needs by the time it's slaughtered?
  16. Paul Allen
    Let's take anything published by that particular conservative think tank with a pinch of salt...
  17. craig castanet
    thanks Pierre for some counterbalance. there is much to consider, and your points are interesting. the conversation is important. the government coercion can be catastrophic. powerful entities always have the capacity to do great harm.
  18. palo
    As per NASA's recent research, Burning fossil fuels 'COOLS planet.


  19. chris c
    GRAZING animals (I stress the word) and game are both food sources of low environmental impact - they require little input of fertiliser, pesticides, diesel for tillage etc. and maintain their environment with benefits to other forms of (wild)life. What my vegetarian cousin and others can't comprehend is the amount of *input* required to grow crops, or the fact that huge tracts of land are simply uncultivatable but can produce sheep, beef/milk, deer, grouse, pheasants, partridges etc.

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