The average American is responsible for about 21 tons of carbon emissions annually, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. If every American cut those emissions by 20 percent over the next year, it would be the equivalent of shutting down a third of the nation's 600 coal-fired power plants.
Americans' love affair with beef has consequences beyond our borders. According to Boucher's 2012 study, U.S. beef consumption helps drive tropical deforestation, which is now responsible for about 10 percent of the world's carbon emissions. As demand for beef goes up worldwide, so does deforestation.