Vegetarian Diet Worse Climate Change Than Meat: Study
Flying in the face of claims made by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during Paris climate change talks, a new study claims a vegetarian diet is not as 'green' as it is perceived to be.
According to Christian Science Monitor, the study's authors at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) tracked the supply chain from production to household storage found that the diet recommended by US Department of Agriculture was associated with higher per calorie carbon footprint than less healthy diets. The USDA recommends consuming more fruit and vegetable in lieu of meat. The reasons cited by the new study's authors include higher resource use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the foods recommendations.
"Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon. Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken," said one of the authors and CMU professor Paul Fischbeck.
While stating that cutting weight by consuming fewer calories was beneficial to the environment, eating healthy foods as recommended by USDA resulted in 38 percent increase in energy consumption, 10 percent increased water use and six percent GHG emissions rise, the authors claim.
Soon after the study made news, vegetarian-non vegetarian debates broke out. The Huffington Post pointed out that the USDA recommendations also include seafood, which though not vegetarian, is associated with high greenhouse gas emissions.