Economic Tidbits

100 Questions and 3,000 Answers

President Reagan was quoted as saying that if the game Trivial Pursuit were designed by economists, the game would have 100 questions and 3,000 answers. President Reagan’s quip is the title of a Tidbits feature called . . . “100 Questions and 3,000 Answers.” This feature highlights a question or comment from a reader along with a response. Send questions or comments to

Question: What percentage of CO2 emissions is produced by beef and what percentage is produced by industry, autos and trucks, home heating, etc.?

Response: The question came in response to a Tidbits story last week regarding CO2 emissions from beef and chicken production and how consumers shift to eating more chicken relative to beef over the past 50 years has reduced overall emissions. According to Frank Mitloehner, a professor at the University of California-Davis, a comprehensive life-cycle assessment for U.S. beef was conducted by a USDA Agricultural Research Service team and found that U.S. beef is responsible for 3.7 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. As far as greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says in 2019 transportation is responsible for 29 percent of U.S. emissions, electricity—25 percent, industry—23 percent, and commercial and residential—13 percent. The EPA also reports agriculture is responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

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