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International Climate Report: Cutting Meat Consumption Key to Reducing Emissions
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report today highlights the increasing threat from rising global meat and dairy consumption to limiting global warming, especially as the world population continues to grow.
“We can’t ignore the devastating impact of meat consumption on our climate and our planet anymore,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which just launched a campaign to reduce meat consumption. “The IPCC report shows that our appetite for meat is not only harming the environment, but is a threat to a livable climate for people and wildlife around the globe. We need to drastically reduce the amount of meat in our diets if we hope to fight climate change and the extinction crisis.”
As the world population grows, so will diets high in meat, milk and cheese and, subsequently, climate pollution from food production. If agricultural emissions are left unchecked, nitrous oxide and methane from livestock could double by 2070 and make it nearly impossible to meet key goals for curbing climate change, according to a new study released by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
The study says that beef and lamb account for the largest agricultural emissions, relative to the energy they provide. By 2050, estimates indicate, beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while only contributing 3 percent of human calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products will account for about one quarter of total agricultural climate pollution.
“We have shown that reducing meat and dairy consumption is key to bringing agricultural climate pollution down to safe levels,” said Fredrik Hedenus, one of the study’s authors.
The Center for Biological Diversity recently launched a new campaign urging Americans to “take extinction off your plate.” The campaign asks people to reduce their environmental footprint and help save wildlife by eating less meat. More than 14,000 people have already taken the Center’s “Earth-friendly Diet Pledge” to reduce their meat consumption.
Additional information, including the Earth-friendly Diet Pledge and a downloadable infographic, can be found at http://www.TakeExtinctionOffYourPlate.com.
March 31, 2014
This article was updated on April 1, 2014.