Bacon not as environmentally destructive as lettuce, says report
Published:  17 December, 2015

After being revealed in a Chatham House report that meat production contributes to around 15% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it has now been reported that lettuce carries three times more greenhouse gas emissions than bacon.

The report, published in the Environmental Systems and Decisions journal, claimed that a diet of mainly common vegetables, such as lettuce, could contribute more to climate change than eating the occasional bacon sandwich.

“The main reason lettuce produces around three times more GHG emissions than bacon is because it’s a fragile plant,” explained scientist Paul Fischbeck, one of the authors of the paper.

“It’s not as calorie dense and it requires a huge volume to be shipped to supply demand, expanding massive amounts of energy before it’s even made it to the table.”

According to Fischbeck, around 40% of shipped lettuce expires along the journey. However, the energy used to keep it alive for consumption, accompanied by the energy used to ship and maintain the product has a “huge environmental impact”.

“Compare this with pork, which is much more energy-efficient and dense because it’s much easier to ship and maintain, and this is why lettuce produces more GHGs than pork.”

Lead author Fischbeck wrote the report alongside co-author Michelle Tom, Chris Hendrickson and a PhD student.