I’m going to persuade you to eat less beef.

No, you’re not; I like beef. 

Well, unless you’ve been living in a cow shed for the last few decades, you’ll know that beef is ridiculously bad for the environment. Livestock are responsible for almost 15% of all emissions, and cows make up a whopping 65% of that-

But beef-burgers taste soooo good.

OK, but think of it this way: making half a pound of beef creates 57 times more emissions than making the same amount of potatoes. It’s 10 times more harmful than chicken, and with-

You’re not getting this: eating steak is like an angel decided to set up camp on my tongue. Why would you to take away my angel’s tent poles?

You know what? Eat your steak. Savour every marbled mouthful.

Wait, is there guilt coming?

Look, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating good quality meat from time to time – we’re omnivores, after all. But it’s the amount of meat we consume that’s scary: a recent study found that 20% of Americans account for half of all food-related emissions, and eating things that go ‘moo’ is a big part of that.

Those damned Americans.

Actually, they’re only number two in the meat-eating league table; Australia just beat them to the top spot.

I knew there’d be guilt involved.

But it’s also better for you – there are many studies that link red meat consumption to heart disease, processed meat to cancer, not to mention the general benefits of a more plant-based diet.

Do you expect me to read all those links?

No Mr Bond, I expect you to di- sorry, got carried away there.

So, is there a bright side to your vicious meat-bashing?

Yes. Cutting down on the amount of meat you put in your mouth each week can make a real difference, especially if that comes from cows. There’s good evidence that going vegetarian can cut your carbon footprint in half, meani-

I knew it! This article is a trojan vegetarian horse. Everything I know is a lie.

meaning if you cut down your meat intake to just once in a while, it would also have serious climate benefits. The world suddenly going veggie would actually have some pretty serious consequences, but cutting down would be a god thing for almost everyone.

Somebody think of the farmers.

Exactly. Movements like #meatfreemonday encourage this sort of thing, but if we’re really serious about this we should probably cut down even more.

What if eating meat is part of my religion, and I’m also allergic to all forms of guilt?

Neither of those are things. Anyway, there may be hope if you wait a while: artificial meat is coming, and apparently it tastes good.

No way Jose – I like my flesh to be grass fed and walking around before it gets to my belly.

What if there was a way to eat the same steak, tasting just as good as the original, with 90% less emissions to make it? Wouldn’t you at least try a bite?

Maybe. But I feel the next cow I meet would look at me with accusation in their eyes.

As opposed to you feasting on their brothers and sisters that were production-line slaughtered in factories?

Fair point.

If you need some motivation, Avaaz has a big petition to get less meat in our bellies.