Oliver Franklin-Wallis article, Wired magazine, Tuesday 4 February 2020
Excerpt:Calculating carbon footprints is intricate work. Take a tomato, for example. What fertiliser, if any, was used? How was it transported and packaged? Was the land deforested to make room for farmland? What about water use? These factors alone mean a single ingredient’s environmental impact can vary wildly [Ftnt 1]. Intensively farmed beef on deforested land can generate 12 times the greenhouse gas emissions of that produced using more sustainable methods. 1kg of asparagus grown in South America and flown to the UK by air freight produces an estimated 8.9kg of CO2, while asparagus grown locally and in season can produce a fraction of that. Equally, air-freighted soft fruit can generate ten times the CO2 emissions of those grown seasonally in the UK. No wonder consumers often drastically underestimate the carbon footprint of their food.
Footnote 1: See Science, 360 (6392) 987-992, 01 Jun 2018, doi: 10.1126/science.aaq0216