Now here's a counter-intuitive result but which makes perfect sense once I have thought about it. Burials are more carbon intensive once you factor in all the costs related to maintaining a grave! I quote:
The study found it was better for people to be cremated, compared with the long-term impact of burials, even though four times as much carbon dioxide was produced during the initial cremation process. "On the day that a cremation or burial takes place, the volume of carbon dioxide produced is higher for cremation than for burial," Centennial Park chief executive Bryan Elliott said.
"The report found that each cremation at Centennial Park generates approximately 160kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. "Each burial at Centennial Park generates approximately 39kg of Co2. "However, when the long-term environmental footprint is considered, burials at Centennial Park have a 10 per cent greater impact than cremations. "This is because we must look after the gravesite for a number of years by watering and mowing the surrounding lawn area and maintaining the concrete beam on which the headstone is placed. "Burial is a more labour and resource intensive process, consumes more fuels and produces larger quantities of waste than cremation."
Although you could quibble about what all you can include in the cost, but it does make sense. We can keep graves for 75 years here in the UK (I think), now think of the costs and that is not even including the indirect foregone opportunity costs (of using the land for something else such as a hospital or a business...)
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!