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Greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with production of individual self-selected US diets

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Title Greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with production of individual self-selected US diets
Title of Series Environmental Research Letters, Volume 13, 2018
Author Heller, Martin C.
Willits-Smith, Amelia
Meyer, Robert
Keoleian, Gregory A.
Rose, Donald (Diego)
License CC Attribution 3.0 Unported:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
DOI 10.5446/39362
Publisher Institute of Physics (IOP)
Release Date 2018
Language English

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Subject Area Physics
Abstract Human food systems are a key contributor to climate change and other environmental concerns. While the environmental impacts of diets have been evaluated at the aggregate level, few studies, and none for the US, have focused on individual self-selected diets. Such work is essential for estimating a distribution of impacts, which, in turn, is key to recommending policies for driving consumer demand towards lower environmental impacts. To estimate the impact of US dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and energy demand, we built a food impacts database from an exhaustive review of food life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and linked it to over 6000 as-consumed foods and dishes from 1 day dietary recall data on adults (N = 16 800) in the nationally representative 2005–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Food production impacts of US self-selected diets averaged 4.7 kg CO2 eq. person−1 day−1 (95% CI: 4.6–4.8) and 25.2 MJ non-renewable energy demand person−1 day−1 (95% CI: 24.6–25.8). As has been observed previously, meats and dairy contribute the most to GHGE and energy demand of US diets; however, beverages also emerge in this study as a notable contributor. Although linking impacts to diets required the use of many substitutions for foods with no available LCA studies, such proxy substitutions accounted for only 3% of diet-level GHGE. Variability across LCA studies introduced a ±19% range on the mean diet GHGE, but much of this variability is expected to be due to differences in food production locations and practices that can not currently be traced to individual dietary choices. When ranked by GHGE, diets from the top quintile accounted for 7.9 times the GHGE as those from the bottom quintile of diets. Our analyses highlight the importance of utilizing individual dietary behaviors rather than just population means when considering diet shift scenarios.
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so I'm a nutritionist smart a sustainability scientists and I guess we we we come at this from a little of a different angle but were both really interested in the problems of the environment and how diet might contribute to that with that a lot of
work in the past on looking at a national diet and how that that shapes Mermin packs a global warming the of water useful and use of the there's been very little work on what individuals consuming and had
individual types make those in so 1 of the
things we wanted to do was to look at it from the individual level could we look at a collection of individuals and look at various there's been very little work on this anywhere in the prediction that U.S. so the
U.S. focus we were thinking about looking at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey a database that would allow us to get thousands of people's diets as well as the health outcomes to
begin to look at this this question more about connection between diet and environment you know the reason why I thinking about environmental impact of diet is important is because we know
that there are big differences in the environmental impact associated with producing different foods a lot of this comes out of life cycle assessment literature life-cycle assessments
really accounting method that's used to look at the resources that are used use and emissions associated with producing a particular product and we know from that literature that animal-based foods carry much greater environmental impact very much greater in Bernalillo been plant-based foods so how the composition of a particular diet plays out can influence what the environmental impact is of system we have gathered a lot of this
literature on the environmental impacts of particular foods and put it together into a database that we
can then link up with these diets in the U.S. we found an algorithm to connect the LCA data that environment have data from the command level all the way to people's diets and and and then were able to look at what's the total impact of my that you guys were of people and samples of the interesting piece in this and but the main contribution to research in this area is being able to represent this distribution of greenhouse gas emissions across the whole population we write all of their diets from the lowest greenhouse gas emissions to the highest and then we divided into 5 equal groups printouts and then we compare them and what 1 of the things that we found was that top quintile accounted for 46 per cent overall of all the emissions from all the diets where abundant on account for 6 per cent of this like cost 8 times different in in terms of the impact on the topic how to the lowest quintile 1 of the
big drivers years thinking about ways that we can reduce the environmental impact associated with the food system so those high-impact diets shifting to an average emission diet represented something like 10 per cent of the emission reductions that the US needs to make in order to meet our our international
contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so freely significant that points these diet shifts in 8 out place of prominence in thinking about climate action but it at this point it gives us an idea that there is a potential to make a dramatic difference there are
there are large differences in policy changes the mean just by moving the needle little bit connects the contributions were happy that
you take a look at this video Realty review article your Friedrich contact us if you
wanna know more about thank you
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