DJ at Asymptotic Life crunched the numbers and found that beef has a high carbon footprint, but (surprising to me) rice more than an order of magnitude higher.
Two foods stood out from the pack as far worse than the others: Per pound eaten, rice creates 276 pounds of CO2 , and beef 11.5 pounds of CO2 per pound. Compare that with cheese (1.64 pounds), chicken (0.5 pounds), or soy (0.04 pounds).
(From the comments) Because the soil is kept underwater, rice cultivation emits methane, which is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. I’ve ranked it by its CO2 equivalence.
He says we can reduce our carbon footprint by eating less beef, which is certainly true. But the question remains, what of the literally billions of people for whom rice is an everyday food essential.
I wonder, can rice be grown less destructively?