One thing you can do: Think dairy

by Tik Root, NY Times

We’ve known for a while that many animal products have an outsize environmental footprint. But which ones have the most impact?

It might not be news to you that the world’s beef production creates the most planet-warming emissions over all. But the next item on the list, according to one study, may be more surprising: dairy products.

“So much of the discourse around environmental impact of food is around meat,” said Helen Harwatt, a policy fellow at the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School, who published a study last year in the journal Climate Policy.

She had expected pork or chicken to be second to beef. But by her calculations, the production of dairy products — including milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt — contributes about 3.6 percent of global planet-warming emissions each year. Her research focused on how policies can encourage shifts to plant proteins from animal proteins.

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