Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Healthy Diet May Reduce Gas; Greenhouse Gas, That Is

A rancher herds cattle in Brazil. (Credit: World Bank/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
The less meat people consume and the healthier their diet becomes, the more the climate benefits, Oxford University scientists said in a study published Monday.

If people in developed countries such as the U.S. were to eat less red meat and move steadily toward a vegetarian or vegan diet, they could live longer while helping to slash greenhouse gas emissions from food production by between 29 and 70 percent by 2050, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While the study does not break new ground in noting the climate benefits of moving away from meat and toward a plant-based diet, it does succeed in tying those climate benefits to human health.

Growing food — especially meat — has a huge impact on the climate, mainly in the form of deforestation and livestock methane emissions.  More than 25 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production and consumption, of which 80 percent come from raising livestock.

The research shows that those emissions are set to increase 51 percent through 2050 because of increased global food consumption — from 7.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent in 2005 to 11.4 billion tons in 2050.  The world’s population, which is 7.3 billion today, is estimated to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, according to United Nations projections.

Read more at Healthy Diet May Reduce Gas; Greenhouse Gas, That Is

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