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The Facts About Food and Climate Change

Welcome to the Climate Fwd: newsletter. The New York Times climate team emails readers once a week with stories and insights about climate change. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

By Hannah Fairfield


CreditCari Vander Yacht

This week, we devoted the Climate Fwd: newsletter to what we eat, and, as climate editor at The New York Times, I’m excited to bring you a special collaboration between The Times’s climate and food teams.

Every week in this newsletter, we invite you to send us your climate questions, and many of the ones we receive are about food. So, we did something big to answer them: We joined with our colleagues in the food section to bring you information about how to shop, cook and eat in a warming world.

We generally have options about what to eat every day, and those choices have climate consequences. About a quarter of all planet-warming greenhouse gases emitted each year are a result of how we feed the world. Does what you eat have an effect on climate change? The answer is yes, absolutely.

We wanted to give you something comprehensive, something that could help answer the big questions about how what you eat intersects with climate change. Here it is:

Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered
How to shop, cook and eat in a warming world.

We also wanted to make this personal, because our food choices are incredibly personal. Wondering how the climate effects of your own diet compare with those of other Americans? Nadja Popovich made a quiz for you, to calculate the climate impact of the foods most similar to what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday. (Be honest!)

Quiz: How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change?
Food choices come with climate consequences. See how your diet compares with those of other Americans.

And we wanted to offer you the riches of cuisines that are delicious and have smaller carbon footprints than an average American meal. Somini Sengupta shows you five ways to eat sustainably, using examples from traditional cuisines around the world.

Read About Food + Climate

Sam Sifton, the food editor at the Times (sign up for his Cooking newsletter here), said, “It was so obvious we needed to do this. The science, after all, is clear. The climate is changing. And a lot of home cooks have been left paralyzed at the stove or in the marketplace as a result, choosing between the farmed salmon and the pasture-raised chicken, the organic tofu, the fair-trade coffee, the heritage carrots. Which is best or safest for the environment? Which hurts it the least? What, in general, are we supposed to buy and cook, if we want to help reduce our carbon footprints, the carbon footprints of our nation, our world?”

We hope you find this special collaboration between climate and food reporters useful, because it’s part of our mission here at The Times to help readers understand the world. Let us know what you think, or if we missed any burning questions, at

Happy reading. We hope you find something inspiring to cook and eat.