Many studies, including the EAT-Lancet Commission report, have argued that changing diets—in particular, shifting away from beef in favor of white meat and vegetables—can substantially reduce household carbon footprints (CFs). This argument implies that households with high CFs consume more meat than low-CF households. An observation of diet and CF across 60,000 households in Japan, a nation whose diet and demographics are in many ways globally indicative, does not support this. Meat consumption only weakly explains the difference between high- and low-CF households and is not localized to any particularly easily targeted group. We find that while nearly all households can reduce their CF by eating less meat, higher-CF households are not distinguished by excessive meat consumption relative to other households but rather have higher household CF intensity because of elevated consumption in other areas including restaurants, confectionery, and alcohol.
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