Could Eating Less Meat INCREASE Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

OK - We've all heard it. Eating less meat is better for the planet. Why? Well, there's research showing that 1) meat production has a big carbon footprint; and 2) ruminants emit lots of methane in farts, burps and manure and this is a problem because methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. But like most things in life, this is a complex issue, and the results of recent research indicate that at least in one region of the world, eating less meat might increase global greenhouse gas emissions. According to research by University researchers at Scotland’s Rural College and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, reducing beef production in the Brazilian Cerrado could increase global greenhouse gas emissions. Lead researcher Rafael Silva explains the reasons this way: "Much of Brazil’s grassland is in poor condition, leading to low beef productivity and high greenhouse gas

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3 thoughts on “Could Eating Less Meat INCREASE Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

  1. Counterintuitive is what paradigm change is all about.

    It’s always great to see confirmation of what many researchers are finding: properly-grazed cattle is the most powerful ecological restoration and climate mitigation tool available to humankind.

    Here are some resources for those who wish to dig deeper into this crucial topic.

    California billionaire Tom Steyer, one of America’s best-known climate activists as funder of the Keystone XL pipeline protest, raises cattle to heal land and drawdown carbon to reverse the climate crisis. “We would continue raising cattle even if no one ever ate another steak,” said [Steyer’s wife, Kat] Taylor. That’s how beneficial she and Steyer think these large farm animals can be. They want the cows to mimic the ancient migratory patterns of wild ungulates and naturally fertilize and aerate soil to reverse the mass erosion believed to be accelerating climate change.

    In Episode 2, “Plains,” of the National Geographic documentary series “Earth – A New Wild” (2015), eminent conservation biologist M. Sanjayan, former lead scientist of The Nature Conservancy, travels to Zimbabwe to meet with Allan Savory, then explains how regenerative, high-density grazing reverses desertification and restores wildlife habitat even during a time of drought, calling the results “spectacular.” View the first ten minutes at

    Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis – climate heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning ON their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth rather than run off. And these turned ON soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It’s an amazing story that has just begun.


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  2. The fewer cattle-therefore increased greenhouse gasses hypothesis does appear counterintuitive. Accepting that the subject is complex and the answers different in different contexts, the explanation offered by Rafael Silva seems speculative and likely specious. I suggest that applying some form of Kathy’s 10-step Bamboozlement Protection System may be appropriate.

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