First Takes: Meat's Climate Impacts, SUVs May Get an MPG Break, and More...

First Takes: Meat's Climate Impacts, SUVs May Get an MPG Break, and More...

Cargo Ships Get Green Guidelines: The International Marine Organizaton on Friday adopted new fuel efficiency standards for cargo ships -- about 50,000 of which ships are responsible for 90 percent of the world's trade. The rules cover new ships built after 2015, and set a target for 10 percent fuel efficiency by 2020, and tightening every five years until 2030, when new ships will be 30 percent more efficient than those built in 2009.

Eat More Lentils, Less Lamb: A new report from the Environmental Working Group takes a lifecycle analysis view of the carbon impacts of meat and vegetables, and finds that lamb and beef are far and away the most carbon-intensive foods among those studied. Lentils and tomatoes have the lowest carbon footprint of the bunch, as the chart below shows. The takeaway, at least from a minimizing-your-carbon-footprint standpoint? Go vegan -- cheese is the third most carbon-intensive product, and among non-meats only potatoes crack the top 10.

meat impacts

Nestlé's Sustainable Agriculture Program, 10 Years Later: Nestlé is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé (SAIN), and while the news is a little light on detail, the company is highlighting some impressive data, including an 80 percent reduction in water used in coffee processing in China and a switch to methane digesters in Mexico that cut electricity use by 90 percent at a milk processing plant.

SUVs May Get a Break on White House Fuel Efficiency Rules: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, as a way to earn broader support for new fuel efficiency ratings for vehicles, the White House may give SUVs and other "light trucks" a slower phase-in for higher efficiency. Rather than having to improve fuel efficiency by 5 percent each year, SUVs would only need to improve at 3.5 percent per year. While the move may make it more likely to get the new rules adopted, relying on fuel-inefficient vehicles is one of the factors that put Detroit into the red in the last decade.

Does Car-Sharing Change Driver Behavior? Zipcar, one of several car-sharing services that has taken off in the last few years, is celebrating its first anniversary in Baltimore. The company has published some of the findings of a member survey in the city, and the results are pretty interesting: 18 percent of members have sold their cars since joining; fewer members are driving 5 or more times in a month, and members are using public transit, bikes and foot-power more often since joining the service. While a member survey in one city after one year does not a highly rigorous study make, given how car companies are buying into car-sharing in a big way, it hints at some interesting shifts afoot in how people get around.

Cow photo CC-licensed by Tambako the Jaguar.