Beef is the worst meat for climate change. Cows release methane gas, says study author Diego Rose, Ph.D., professor and director of nutrition at Tulane University in New Orleans. Over a 20-year period, the greenhouse gas’s effect on global warming is more than 80 times stronger than that of carbon dioxide.
Chicken, on the other hand, has one-eighth the carbon footprint of beef. A single substitution has the same impact as choosing to bike 10 miles rather than drive your car.
The bottom line:
In an isolated instance, the substitution only has a modest effect. “But if everyone does it regularly, it adds up,” Rose says. Ideally you’d replace all the red meat you eat with poultry or pork, but if that’s too drastic, start with once a week and make the swap more often over time.