United Kingdom

Halve the size of your steak if you want to cut carbon emissions and save the planet, says expert 

For some, a big juicy steak is the star attraction on a dinner plate.

But the meaty treat should take a back seat if you want to save the planet, an expert has said.

She also warned, however, that going vegan can take its toll on the environment too.

Halving the weight of your steak could be ‘just one thing’ people can do to cut their carbon emissions, said Sarah Bridle, a physics professor working on food and climate change at Manchester University.

And in a move that may outrage beef enthusiasts, she recommends sticking to a cut weighing 4oz. She told the Cheltenham Science Festival: ‘Thinking about the quantities and reducing the quantities can make a big difference.

An expert has said that steak should take a back seat on your plate if you want to save the planet, recommending sticking to a cut weighing 4oz (stock image) 

‘When you choose your next meal or just think about the different options available, try and think about which ones will affect the climate most and include that in your decision making.

‘So if we get an 8oz steak and chips, for example, that itself blows the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for food for one person for one day from that one meal. But if it was half the quantity of steak, that would be below the global average of food impacts for one day.’

Professor Bridle said opting for smaller cuts, ideally from local suppliers, could result in tastier meat.

Beef has a notoriously high carbon footprint due to the amount of land and resources required to raise cattle. Scientists found that a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, while half of all farmed animal emissions come from beef and lamb alone.

Professor Bridle said turning vegan can make a big difference in the bid to save the planet. But she warned vegans still need to be aware of what they eat and how they prepare their food.

Professor Bridle warned vegans still need to be aware of what they eat and how they prepare their food, for example putting a jacket potato in the oven for two hours using electricity could also be quite harmful for climate change (stock image) 

She said: ‘There are things you can do as a vegan which could be quite harmful for climate change. So I might be standing by an oven with a jacket potato in there for two hours using electricity.

‘At the same time I might pop to the shops to get some fresh green beans that have been flown in from another country.

‘These are things that would not be good for the environment, but they’re vegan. So we need to think about transportation of food.’

A 2019 survey revealed there are now around 600,000 vegans in the UK – a number that has quadrupled since 2014. 

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