Fact Sheet: Food Systems and Climate Change

Global demand for meat is projected to rise 50% in the next 25 years putting a strain on our ecological systems. Shifting away from animal-based foods is a solution to the climate crisis we are facing.

Fact #1: An estimated 1,800 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. With that much water you could take 105 eight-minute showers a day!

Fact #2: Food is the cause of 30% of all carbon emissions

Fact #3: Beef produces the most greenhouse gas emissions, which include methane. A global average of 110lb (50kg) of greenhouse gases is released per 3.5oz of protein.

Fact #4: Beef requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more GHG emissions per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, such as beans. 

Fact #5: Raising animals for food takes up half of all water used in the U.S.

Fact #6: Animal agriculture takes up land and is a leading cause of deforestation. In 2018, 30 million acres of tropical rainforest were lost. Which is equivalent of 43 football fields a minute! 

Fact #7: Plant-based meat uses 72%–99% less water than conventional meat (l-water/kg-meat).

Fact #8: Methane, a greenhouse gas, has over 25 times the impact on our planet as carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the largest contributor of methane in the US is livestock and their waste.

Fact #9: Plant-based meat requires no antibiotics at all. It also greatly reduces the risk of antifungal resistance, which can arise from the use of fungicides on crops, because plant-based meat requires much less crop production than conventional meat.

Fact #10: Producing animal-based foods generates more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods, which is why shifting toward a more plant-based or plant-forward diet is recognized as a solution for for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.

Fact #11: 1 gallon of cow’s milk requires 1950 gallons of water.

Fact #12: One recent study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization concluded that, on average, it takes about three pounds of grain to raise one pound of meat.

Fact #13: Livestock contributes nearly 2/3 of agriculture’s greenhouse & 78% of its methane emissions.

Fact #14: It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein.