More Beans, Less Beef to Combat Climate Change

One solution to climate change? Consuming beans instead of beef. This simple dietary change – substituting beans for beef in American diets – could have a dramatic impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to researchers from four universities who teamed up to measure the effects, if all Americans substituted beans for beef in their diet, GHG emissions would be significantly lowered. Even if nothing else changed, such as lowering emissions from cars or other livestock, this simple diet swap would allow the US to reach its 2020 GHG emissions goal by reducing GHG emissions anywhere from 46 to 74 percent.

Bean production results in about one-fortieth the amount of greenhouse gases as beef, one of the most GHG-intensive foods to produce. Substituting beans for beef would also free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland currently under cultivation.

Trading beef for beans isn’t just effective; is also easy. Replace ground beef with beans in chili, sloppy joes, pasta sauces and even burgers for creative and healthy meals that also go a long way toward reducing the size of your carbon footprint.