American ranchers and U.S. meat consumption have virtually no impact on greenhouse gas emissions or climate, reports a compelling new climate summary. The new climate summary, “Climate at a Glance: Livestock and Methane,” documents that cattle and beef account for just 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. All livestock combined account for less than 4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate activists, many of whom are vegans for other reasons, often claim that ranchers, livestock, and meat production are a leading cause of rising greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Yet, EPA data show crop production accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than total livestock production.

The Climate at a Glance portal provides more than two dozen concise, compelling summaries of topics related to climate change. Bullet-points at the top of each summary provide an easily understandable summary of the topic. A Short Summary section under the bullet-points provides a concise, supporting explanation with links to scientific evidence. Most summaries also include a compelling visual graphic.

James Taylor is Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.


  1. Remember, before the white man ventured into the “Great American Desert”, the American Bison herd stretched from Canada to Mexico. There were tens of millions of them eating the plain’s grasses and producing untold amounts of greenhouse gas. The white man’s invasion and the decimation of the bison herds nearly caused the extinction, but it also reduced their greenhouse emissions to near-zero. There was NOT a simultaneous cooling from this reduction. And now they want to ban cattle and other livestock production because of their emissions–emissions that have the same zero effect on climate.

    Gimme a break!


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