Campus Reform | Researchers want Americans to eat 90% less beef, conform with Paris Agreement

Researchers want Americans to eat 90% less beef, conform with Paris Agreement

A University of Michigan study advocated drastic reductions in meat consumption to help the Biden administration meet the Paris Agreement goals.

The scholars promote plant-based alternatives in Americans' diets.


As President Biden seeks to reduce American carbon emissions, a University of Michigan study suggests drastically reducing meat consumption.

The study — published by University of Michigan researchers Martin Heller, Gregory Keoleian, and Diego Rose — lists ways in which the United States could conform with the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets.

In particular, the study notes that “replacing 50% of all animal-based foods with plant-based alternatives” in combination with “replacing 90% of beef” would cut American carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2,408 million metric tons.

“Reducing beef consumption by 90% of current levels” and achieving “50% reductions in other animal-based foods” could reduce emissions “36% closer to the US Nationally Determined Contribution,” explains the study.

[RELATED: Biden’s court packing committee contains an army of profs open to altering Supreme Court]

President Biden recommitted to the Paris Agreement’s goals in an April 22 virtual conference with other world leaders. Biden additionally committed the United States to a “net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050.”

“This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis,” Biden said. “We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature and — to an increase of — to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

[RELATED: Biden admin won't say how much 'emergency' funding for colleges remains unspent, proposes another $12 billion anyway]

Several University of Michigan researchers signaled support for Biden’s commitment.

“A 50% reduction of U.S. emissions compared to 1990 is both achievable by 2030 and only the first step in efforts by the United States to prevent dangerous climate change,” environmental conservation professor Arun Agrawal explained to Michigan News. “Investments in cost-competitive renewable energy production, doubling down on energy efficiency, strategic deployment of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, and support for terrestrial carbon sinks are the most promising and cost-effective pathways for the U.S. to achieve its global commitments and responsibility for emissions reduction.”

Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the school’s School for Environment and Sustainability, remarked in the same article that “it’s great to see the U.S. stepping up as a global leader in the fight against the climate crisis.”

Campus Reform has reached out to the University of Michigan and the aforementioned researchers for comment; this article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SergeiKelley