EWG thanks Kumar Venkat, president of CleanMetrics, for carrying out the lifecycle data analysis and for working patiently with EWG to define and redefine parameters, assumptions, data sources and other information underlying the analysis.
We thank our three outside reviewers – Dr. Alison Harmon, RN, LN, of Montana State University and Dr. Roni Neff and Brent Kim of the Center for A Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University – for their in-depth and extremely useful comments on the report.
We thank Stefanie Hermsdorf for her graphic design on the Meat Eaters’ card and brochure.
We would also like to thank the funders who helped make the Meat Eaters Guide possible: 11th Hour Project, Dietel Partners and Small Planet Fund.
Finally, the author thanks her colleagues at EWG for their extensive contributions to the project: web designers Taylan Yalniz and Aman Anderson for their tireless work on the design of this web site; Renee Sharp for writing and research contributions on the health impacts of meat; Nils Bruzelius and Lisa Frack for their editing; and Craig Cox and Renee Sharp for their overall direction and management. She also thanks Jane Houlihan for her helpful guidance on the project; Sean Gray for reviewing and providing important additional data analysis; former EWG senior researcher Anila Jacobs for initial research on the health impacts of meat; and interns Kimi Shell, Samara Geller, Michele Reilly and Susan Carter for their considerable research efforts.
1- The analysis calculated the carbon dioxide equivalents of methane and nitrous oxide emissions based on their global warming potential (GWP), the warming effect relative to carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame.
2- EWG analysis based on data from: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do;jsessionid=39589A84B623FFB18D319BF97277F79C?documentID=1560. Application rates for hay are based on California rates of pesticide application from: http://www.pesticideinfo.org/DS.jsp?sk=23001#TopRegions
3- EWG analysis based on data from: Table 2 @ http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FertilizerUse/, hay application rates from https://cru84.cahe.wsu.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=15009&SeriesCode=&CategoryID=131&Keyword, and nutrient application rates at: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do;jsessionid=39589A84B623FFB18D319BF97277F79C?documentID=1560 for sorghum, barley and oats.
4- EWG analysis based on EWG farm subsidy database. Accessed at http://www.farm.ewg.org
5- US EPA Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2008. US Environmental Protection Agency. 430-R-10-006. April 2010. Accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads10/US-GHG-Inventory-2010_Chapter2-Trends
6- EWG analysis of “EPA data in Specific State Probable Sources that make up the National Agriculture Probable Source Group,” accessed on Nov. 30, 2010 at http://iaspub.epa.gov/tmdl_waters10/attains_nation_cy.source_detail?p_source_group_name=AGRICULTURE
7- CleanMetrics calculations are based on retail and consumer waste on ERS loss-Adjusted Food Availability data accessed at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/FoodGuideSpreadsheets.htm as well as recently revised consumer food loss estimates from USDA’s January 2011 Technical Bulletin “Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability”
9- According to EWG calculations, if everyone in the US went vegetarian and there was a corresponding reduction in meat production of that same amount, it would be the equivalent of removing about 255 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. That represents 4.5 percent of total 2009 US emissions (5,618 million metric tons) (EPA 2011). EWG calculations are based on recently revised per capita meat consumption estimates from USDA’s January 2011 Technical Bulletin, “Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data, and daily meat intake. Calculation assumes the following: US population 309,050,816 (2010 Census data); weighted average of 1 kg of meat = 15.34 CO2e; weighted average of 1 kg of vegetable protein = 2.14 CO2e. Average daily meat consumption of 6.4 ounces (USDA 2011) is replaced by a vegetarian meal with equivalent protein content. 2.80 kg CO2e- .53 kg CO2 e = 2.27 CO2e saved per day. 2.27*52 = 118 kg (.118 metric tons) CO2e saved per person for going meatless one day week. Total US population going meatless 7 days a week is calculated as follows: .118*309,050,816*7 = 255,275,974 metric tons = 554,947,769,600 miles driven. Miles are calculated based on assumption of 20 mpg, 12,000 miles a year and 0.46 kg CO2/mile driven as per EPA guidance: http://www.epa.gov/OMS/climate/420f05004.htm
10- The line dry calculation is based on average single household energy consumption, EPA website. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator2.html#c=waste&p=reduceAtHome&m=calc_WYCD; Accessed February 2011:
12- EWG calculation assumes replacing the consumption of an 8-ounce steak with 8 ounces of vegetable protein as follows: 6.1 (CO2e of 8 ounces beef) – .48 (8 ounces of vegetable protein) = 5.62 kg CO2 saved per person for each day of replacing meat with protein. 5.6*52 = 292 kgs =.29 metric tons saved replacing steak one day a week over one year. 29 metric tons = 639 miles (see above)*4 = 2,557 miles (nearly three months of driving) if family of four skips steak once a week.
13- EWG assumes replacement of average per capita meat and cheese consumption with a vegetable meal of equivalent protein content. The calculation is as follows: 3.19 CO2e-.60 CO2e = 2.59 kg saved per day. 2.59*52=135 kg CO2e = 13.5 metric tons. Entire US population going meatless and cheese-less one day a week over a year: 13.5*309050816 = 41,421,860 metric tons = 90,699,696,000 miles driven = 7,558,308 cars off the road.
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