Anti-meat RMIT research: Peanuts and field vegetables could save the world

Posted by Ian Grinblat on 21st November 2016

In a “world-first”, researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne and Lancaster University in the UK have produced a table of the greenhouse gas emissions generated from production of a wide range of foodstuffs.

The table is designed to allow consumers and catering firms to understand the environmental impact of the fresh food they eat and the menus they serve. It is also designed to allow the public to work out “more sustainable diets and menus for themselves and for their customers.”

The research finds that the lowest carbon emitters are vegetables (5.8kg of onions to produce 1kg carbon dioxide) and the highest are meats (just 44g of Australian beef or 57g of Australian lamb produces 1kg carbon dioxide). Plant based protein sources such as lentils and peanuts are favoured – 1kg of lentils produces 1kg carbon dioxide and 1kg of peanuts produces 1.2 kg of carbon dioxide.

Interestingly, the study focuses only on carbon emissions during production and overlooks the carbon emissions in food distribution and by consumers.

According to food industry legal expert and researcher, Joe Lederman, the managing principal of FoodLegal, many new studies are similar to those which were heavily criticised by him in 2009.

Lederman told Australian Food News that consumers are “being fed a flood of anti-meat and anti-dairy ‘science’ research articles in the guise of global warming arguments.”

“The fact that mammals emit carbon dioxide should ultimately lead to the conclusion that human beings should also be eliminated as a huge cost to the environment. If this is the same logic behind many such studies, it is becoming insane,” Lederman said.