Environmental impacts of beef: greenhouse gas emissions
Carbon dioxide is released by direct energy consumption through mechanised feed crop production and the herding and movement of animals (the average beef calf sees more of the US than the average cattle farmer).
Staggering amounts of methane released
Globally, ruminant livestock produce about 80 million metric tons of methane annually, accounting for about 22% of global methane emissions from human-related activities.
Cattle in the United States emit about 6 million metric tons of methane per year into the atmosphere. The cow/calf sector is the largest emitter of methane within the U.S. beef industry. It accounts for 54% of the total methane emissions from cattle, while the feedlots and stocker calves account for 21%, and dairy accounts for 25% (Ruminant Livestock Efficiency Program, 2002).