Integrity of Science: Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice

Published: May 2008
Authors: Michael Cohen and Matthew Heberger
Pages: 7

Full Report


Is walking worse for the planet than driving? This startling claim has been published in high-profile media outlets, including the New York Times blogs. This case study examines the idea that the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of food needed to replace the calories burned by walking could exceed the life-cycle emissions of the fuel needed to drive a car the same distance. It finds that when realistic assumptions about a walker’s diet are taken into consideration (i.e. when it is assumed the diet is not exclusively based on beef products), walking makes more sense for the environment than driving.