Meat production is said to create a staggering 18 percent of the world's carbon emissions.
But in a new book being released in February 2011, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, Simon Fairlie claims that eating moderate amounts of meat could be greener than going vegan.
Fairlie argues that every agricultural system produces hard-to-use biomass that is best fed to livestock, and that animals kept on small farms also fend off predators and pests and fertilize the soil.
However, Fairlie tells Time magazine that:
"... [O]f course, it is not what we eat individually -- it is what we eat as a whole society that has the impact on the environment. Some vegans may continue their vegan ways. I'm arguing for meat in moderation, not to eradicate meat entirely, nor to overconsume it."