For today's Geo Quiz --- the question is where's the beef?
No, we're not asking you about that old TV ad for a certain hamburger chain. Nor do we want to know about Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign slogan.
What we want to know is... which country is the largest producer and consumer of MEAT in the world?
Rich, industrialized countries typically use the largest share of the globe's resources. But population is also a factor in figuring out the answer to this quiz.
We'll identify the biggest global meat eater and consider the impact all that meat has on the environment...
Time's up on our Geo Quiz. We wanted you to name the country that produces and consumes the most meat.
Let's get to the answer:
The United States might be the world's leading consumer of such commodities as corn, coffee, oil and natural gas. But the country with the biggest appetite for meat is the country with the largest population.
Weighing in at 1.3 billion people... the answer is China.
That's just part of the story. According to the UN, the United States is actually the highest per-capita consumer of meat. The average U.S. citizen consumes more than three times the global average of 80 pounds of meat per person per year.
Africans eat less than half that amount. But they get more meat than South Asians, who consume the least -- just under 13 pounds per person per year.
More meat, less meat ... what's the difference you might ask. Well the UN says meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
That's the result of the production of cattle feed, for example, or the burning of forests to make way for grazing. There's also a lot of methane that comes out of cattle. Say no more.
The chairman of the UN's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change thinks everyone should try to eat less meat. Rajendra Pachauri says that would help combat global warming:
ï¿½I think if individuals eat a little less meat then certainly there would be a response on the supply side as well thereby you'd be able to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide in particular, as a result so I think when people normally ask me what is it that I can do? - Alright I believe we are affecting the earth's climate, what can I do about it? Then I tell them that you've got to bring about some changes in your lifestyles, you know, switching off lights, changing your lightbulbs to compact fluorescent lamps and so on, and you can also adjust your diet and you'd actually be better off.ï¿½
Pachauri says he's not urging meat-eaters to make a drastic change... like suddenly going vegetarian. He'd rather people just cut their meat-eating habit by one day a week.
By the way the IPCC chairman eats no meat...he's a vegetarian.