Environmental impacts of eating animals

“If cattle were to form their own nation, they would rank third behind China and the United States among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.”

World Resources Institute, 2016

You can access articles and other material dealing with the impact of animal agriculture on climate change from this page. (Material on climate change in general can be found here.)


The Climate Council misses the mark on agriculture’s true impact

Image by Evi T. on Unsplash

Climate Council Australia – Playing down animal agriculture’s impacts


When carbon neutral farming is not carbon neutral

The meat industry’s misplaced hope over methane

When “revelations” about methane emissions are not revelations at all

Great Barrier Reef submission

Global Warming Potential: What’s it all about?

Should the charitable status of Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia be revoked?

Red meat and sustainability: A modern fairy tale?

A negative climate change impact of the coronavirus pandemic

Is a methane cloud hanging over New Zealand’s zero carbon law?

Red meat in the classroom

Why new beef brand is not carbon neutral

Animal farming’s disastrous impacts on Australia’s rangelands

Climate change: Be wary of meat industry claims

Some impacts of cattle farming

Is “regenerative grazing” the new “clean coal”?


Beef and the reef: An update

Dietary change is essential for forests and climate

Climate Council’s head in the sand

The water in our food

Climate change impacts of eating sea animals

Drawdown let-down


Beef and the reef: A recipe for disaster

Open email to Youth Food Movement Australia

Some questions for Youth Food Movement Australia

Herding youth toward dairy

AYCC grossly understates livestock’s climate change and reef impacts

Youth Food Movement and the farce of NSW’s Green Globe Awards

Infographic: Some true costs of animal-based foods

Response to climate emergency plan

Meat Eaters vs the Great Barrier Reef

Less Meat Less Heat: Falling short of what’s required

Beef, the reef and rugby: We have a problem

The pork industry in the classroom

Livestock chief gets it wrong on the vegan diet


Youth Food Movement Australia and the red meat industry


Huffington Post contributes to African poverty


Open letter to Sydney Peace Foundation


The link that too many ignore


Free range is not the answer


Concerns over a concerned scientist’s comments


Lots of hot air in Savory supporter’s climate change arguments


The climate change campaigner and the steak


Eating for a safe climate: Protein and other nutrients


The low emissions diet

giant penne IMG_2833(1)

The climatarian diet must exclude pig, chicken, fish, egg and dairy


No, two pounds of beef are not worse than a trans-Atlantic flight


Lettuce, bacon and the climate crisis


Another letdown from 350.org


My beef with Gore, Obama and the US EPA over climate change



A livestock recap on the road to Paris


Action on livestock is essential if we are to strike targets


Questions for Breakthrough climate forum


The Other Problem With The China Free Trade Deal (on New Matilda website)

Chinese flag waving in the wind

Letters in newspapers


Activist, not Automaton


Chickens, pigs and the Amazon tipping point


Volkswagen, animal agriculture and the climate crisis


Methane breakthrough not what it may seem


Emissions intensity of Australian beef


Climate change in a meal


Meat, the environment and industry brainwashing


Some concerns with Chatham House


An industry shooting itself in the foot over “Cowspiracy”


More on Cowspiracy and the Australian red meat industry


Livestock and climate: Do percentages matter?


Cowspiracy and the Australian red meat industry


The 3 percent diet


More on Savory, livestock and climate change


Savory and McKibben: Another postscript


The Electric Cow


No, humans are not at the top of the food chain


Some myths about meat


Are cows killing the reef?


Some thoughts on protein in a plant-based diet


Some quotations on the climate crisis


More on Omissions of Emissions: Livestock and the Climate Crisis


The real elephant in AYCC’s climate change room


Do the math: There are too many cows!


Prince Charles on Climate Change and Deforestation


Protecting global climate with Vegan Challenge: Interview with Paul Mahony


Livestock and climate: Why Allan Savory is not a saviour


A climate system on steroids


Does the standard of climate change reporting need beefing up?


Omissions of Emissions: A Critical Climate Change Issue


Climate Change and Diet: Calcium

Box of kale

Some Critical Omissions from Climate Change Discussions



Here’s a list of my articles dealing with the impact of animal agriculture on climate change from the Viva la Vegan website, which also includes the articles shown above:

To retain a habitable planet, what we eat is critical!

Climate change: Two presentations and an alarming update

Solar Or Soy: Which is better for the planet? (Part 6)

Solar Or Soy: Which is better for the planet? (Part 5)

Solar or Soy: Which is better for the planet? (Part 4)

Solar or Soy: Which is better for the planet? (Part 3)


August 2020

July 2020

July 2019

July 2017

July 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.16.37 am

February 2016


National Food Plan Green Paper Submission

Sep 2012
Extract: “It would be helpful if the government informed the community that they can have a significant environmental impact by modifying their diets. Such an approach would help balance the efforts of groups such as Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), who were named the 2007 advertiser of the year at the Australian Writers & Art Directors awards, for its work in promoting red meat sales domestically and internationally. No one could validly complain if well-informed consumers decided to purchase fewer meat and dairy products for environmental reasons. After all, efficient markets rely on decision makers being well informed. To mislead the public of the actual causes of climate change or water shortages is worse than doing nothing at all. It deflects action away from those measures that would help to solve the pressing environmental problems that we face.”


Victorian Government Climate of Opportunity Green Paper Submission

Sep 2009
Extract: “If the Victorian Government is willing to advertise to encourage us to adopt certain beneficial practices in regard to energy and water consumption, then it should also be willing to do the same in regard to dietary choices, as the environmental benefits of dietary change would be many times greater than the benefits to be derived from the other measures mentioned.”

Slide1 (3)

Response to Victorian Government’s “Climate of Opportunity” summit paper

Jun 2008
Extract: Whilst the Victorian Government has been willing to spend money on advertisements that encourage us to turn off electrical appliances and take shorter showers, it has said little, if anything, about the dramatic effect of our food choices on the environment. This must change; the Government must help to inform the community.”

Slide2 (1)

Presentation – Solar Or Soy: Which is better for the planet? (A review of animal agriculture’s impact)


Description: Animal agriculture has a massive impact on climate change. In June 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme’s International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management reported on activities and resources that contribute disproportionately to environmental pressures and impacts. In its report, the panel said, “a substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products”. This presentation supports that view. (First presented in February, 2011)

Key Issues (inter-related):

  • Inherent inefficiency
  • Scale
  • Greenhouse gases and other warming agents
  • Deforestation
  • Water
  • Nutrition

Comments on Meat & Livestock Australia’s “Myth Busters”

I felt the need to respond to what MLA referred to as “myth busters” regarding the environmental impacts of red meat. Here’s my paper.


Other Papers:

Some Environmental Impacts of Animal Agriculture – Part 1 (Dec, 2010)

Some Environmental Impacts of Animal Agriculture – Part 2 (Dec, 2010)

Page image:

skeeze | Cattle | Pixabay | CC0 Creative Commons

Seafood image:

Grilled lobster | Prayitno | Flickr | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Chinese flag image:

Chinese Flag Photo © Argus456 | Dreamstime.com

YFM image:

Youth Food Movement Australia | YFM logo badge only | Flickr | Creative Commons NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) | http://tinyurl.com/j4c8ad9 | https://www.flickr.com/photos/142322734@N08/

Other image credits:

Please refer to relevant pages.

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