This dispatch from Climate Explained, a collaboration between Stuff, The Conversation and the New Zealand Science Centre, explores a reader’s question about the environmental impact of a plant-based burger versus beef.

In their assessment of New Zealand emissions data, they found that one kilogram of beef produces 14 times the emissions of whole, protein-rich plant foods like lentils, beans and chickpeas – and even the most emissions-intensive plant foods have less than four times the climate impact than beef.

They also reviewed the impacts of dietary patterns across the board, finding that if all New Zealand adults adopted a plant-based diet with no food wastage, diet-related emissions could be reduced by an estimated 42 per cent and healthcare costs could drop by $20 billion over the lifetime of the current New Zealand population.

READ MORE: Climate Explained: How the climate impact of beef compares with plant-based alternatives [Stuff NZ]