I like beef. I eat too much of it and am trying to cut back. Perhaps that is what inspired me to suggest a question for our recent midterm exam having to do with estimating the percentage of carbon emissions eliminated by everyone ceasing to consume beef (assuming that this means that all the beef-cows somehow “go away.”). Of course, to do this estimate one needs to make all sorts of simplifying assumptions, but I think it is ultimately interesting. Particularly if you also try to estimate the change in carbon emissions if everyone shifts over to hybrid cars like the Prius.
Ezra Klein at the Washington Post wrote an interesting op-ed about all this over the summer. It’s worth a read.