Watch the Weekly Climate Show

Do you know the climate impact of your cheeseburger? What about the climate impact of the super-rich? Watch the Weekly Climate Show to find out more.

Video Transcript

ALI FORTESCUE: Do you know the climate impact of your burger?


They're not all created equal. You as an individual aren't responsible for solving climate change. Let's get that out of the way. Huge industries and governments are supposed to be dealing with that. But there are things we can do to reduce our carbon footprints.

So, as restaurants in the UK start opening up again, we've taken a look at the impact of the classic cheeseburger around the world. If you're watching this in the UK or in the EU, your cheeseburger is going to create about 5.4 kilos of emissions, mostly because cows are gassy.


To put that into context, that's about 14% of what your carbon footprint for the week should be, if you're going by World Health Organization standards.


If you're watching this in Latin America though, it is a completely different story. The 19.2 kilos of emissions from your burger eats up nearly half of your carbon footprint for the week. Latin American cows are still gassy, don't get me wrong, but it's the land they're grazing on that causes the biggest problem.

Farming methods, like a technique called "slash and burn" are to blame. When the land degrades because the cows have been on it for too long, the ranchers need more land for them to graze on, and to get that space they literally have to slash and burn forests and grasslands to make room. So the emissions going into your cheeseburger aren't just from the cows themselves, but from the trees and plants being chopped down so the cows can graze.

That being said, all beef around the world has a fairly high climate impact because, well, cows are gassy. Luckily these guys reckon they found a solution.

DAN NEEF: So this is our research and development lab.

DAN WHITEHEAD: Mootral, a British Swiss firm, is developing its latest version of a food supplement for cows which it claims can reduce the amount of methane cattle produce by 30%. Mootral says that if all cows in the world consumed their feed, the methane reduction would be equivalent to taking 330 million European cars off the road.

DAN NEEF: Cows are a huge, huge problem. They are. They put an enormous amount of methane into the atmosphere.

DAN WHITEHEAD: This chamber has no oxygen inside and it's replicating a cow's gut. What Dan is doing is seeing just how effective this new feed is at removing the microorganisms which create methane inside a cow.

ALI FORTESCUE: Listen, if you fancy enjoying a burger this weekend, go for it. The key is being informed. And if you wanted to go down the vegetarian route, the guys at BOSH! have got some top tips for keeping it interesting.

HENRY FIRTH: Hey guys, I'm Henry.


HENRY FIRTH: And we are


HENRY FIRTH: We make vegan food. We make vegan food videos. And we are here to tell you our top three tips for eating plant-based.

IAN THEASBY: Now, so you don't miss out, it's important to find ways to make food taste a little bit like meat or fish. And there's loads of ways to do that.

HENRY FIRTH: You can use mushrooms, you can use jackfruit. There's so many things you can use to replace your burger, your lasagna, or whatever you're craving.

IAN THEASBY: Now, if you're thinking about eating plant-based, it's important to do your research and do a bit of forward planning.

HENRY FIRTH: That's right. Just get some good books like ours or other people's, find some good YouTubers, find some good websites and research and make sure you're properly prepared.

IAN THEASBY: And the third tip. If you are basically doing something completely different, it's natural that you're going to slip occasionally. But don't worry.

HENRY FIRTH: Yeah, don't stress about it. Just do it the way that's right for you. Maybe you can eat a vegan meal, a veggie meal. Even just adding some more vegan ingredients is a great thing. So don't worry about what other people say. Do it your way.

ALI FORTESCUE: Now, before we hear how the super-rich are trashing the planet more than any of us, here are some news stories that you won't want to miss this week.


ALI FORTESCUE: Us having a burger or two isn't going to irreparably damaged the Earth, but for the super-rich, there are some serious behavior changes needed.

ASAD REHMAN: The top 1% of people now are responsible for double the emissions of 3 and 1/2 billion people, of half of the global-- of the world.

ALI FORTESCUE: So should we be taxing the super-rich for their impact on climate change?

ASAD REHMAN: We need regulations that say to those wealthy, actually, your behavior is unacceptable.

ALI FORTESCUE: A new report says, yes, because to make the biggest impact on climate change, the wealthiest 1% of people in the world need to reduce their emissions by 30 times what they are currently.

ASAD REHMAN: The rich really have to take responsibility for their behavior. And so far, we've seen them, as the UN says, of creating what is being termed a "climate apartheid", where the wealthy say, well, we'll just use our riches to try and escape all of the effects of climate change and the responsibility to be able to act. And it's left to ordinary people in the poor who not only have to suffer the impacts, but are also the ones who are doing the most to actually change their lifestyles and their behaviors, to be able to live more sustainably, to be able to live more fairly, and to be able to actually live better and healthier lives.

ALI FORTESCUE: That point from Asad is really important. Fighting climate change isn't about making our lives harder or worse. It's about changing stuff for the better. So finally, let's introduce you to Mario, an Italian architect 3D-printing eco-friendly mud houses that he says could be the future of city living.

MARIO CUCINELLA: Maybe the next city where we would like to build a smart city, green city, zero CO2 emission city, is a city in clay.


MARIO CUCINELLA: Maybe the future is also to look to our past and discover the knowledge we have lost in the last 250 years.

ALI FORTESCUE: That's all for this week. Don't forget to subscribe if you're watching this on Snapchat. And to get more climate change news, head to our YouTube channel for The Daily Climate Show or wherever you get your podcasts for our weekly ClimateCast.