Our dining choices have environmental consequences, and even the best choices can produce carbon emissions. Traditional rice cultivation, which involves flooding fields annually, releases methane, a carbon-equivalent (CO2e) gas with 28 times the warming potential of CO2. Author Mike Berners-Lee explained in The Carbon Footprint of Everything, that one kilogram of rice generates 2.2 lbs. of CO2e under average production conditions — that translates into 1.69 lbs. per dry cup of rice you cook.
Even then, rice is a great choice for a more sustainable diet. “Globally, it provides 20 percent of the world’s food energy in exchange for 3.5 percent20 of its carbon footprint,” Berners-Lee writes. The good news is that new agricultural methods that reduce emissions are being adopted in the U.S. and Asia, where it is a staple in virtually every meal.
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