The Flatulence Factor

December 05, 2014

Think you know which of our activities contribute to climate change the most? Well, if you’re like the thousands of people surveyed in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe, you miss the mark on just how much cars, deforestation, waste disposal, and other carbon emitters are helping heat our planet.

Interestingly, the responders tended to overestimate the impact of most greenhouse gas sources, but they gave short shrift to one big emitter in particular: meat and dairy production. Livestock's methane-filled farts and burps account for about 15 percent of global carbon emissions, yet less than a third of participants thought so. Perhaps those juicy steaks and gooey cheese curds make folks look the other way...

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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