Imagine a half century has passed. It is the year 2060 and world beef consumption has fallen dramatically: a good outcome for climate-sake, according to some. However, life cycle fart assessments have led some to question the wisdom of the transition, as dairy production was shown to have increased greatly to meet growing vegetarian dietary needs, indirectly raising human methane and carbon dioxide contributions. More cow farts from Farmer Brown’s dairy.

More important, the relative significance of direct human flatulence to the total carbon dioxide and methane loads was shown to have increased dramatically by a massive human shift to a highly legume- and cabbage-dependent diet. More vegetarian farts, in other words.