Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Studies Show Link Between Red Meat and Climate Change

The yellow and orange bars on the graph illustrate the greenhouse gas emissions differences involved in different types of food production and related land use changes. (Credit: World Resources Institute) Click to Enlarge.
Shifting diets away from meat could slash in half per capita greenhouse gas emissions related to eating habits worldwide and ward off additional deforestation — a major contributor to climate change, according to scientific findings published this week.

The consequences of land use change stemming from expanding agricultural production were the focus of a paper published Wednesday by the World Resources Institute.  It showed that reducing heavy red meat consumption — primarily beef and lamb — would lead to a per capita food and land use-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050.  Going vegetarian could reduce those per capita emissions by half.

A second paper, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, analyzed about 500 different food consumption and production scenarios worldwide and found that nearly 300 of them could feed the global population without cutting down more forests.  The biggest contributing factor to food-related deforestation is eating meat, the study says.

“Both (papers) highlight that dietary changes are very, very important — one for climate change impacts through greenhouse gas emissions, and the other purely through agricultural expansion,” said Oxford University Future of Food Program researcher Marco Springmann, who is unaffiliated with the studies.

Read more at Studies Show Link Between Red Meat and Climate Change

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