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Meat causes far higher emissions than plant based food.

Most people in the UK and US eat more than 100g of meat per day. Cutting down on meat is good for your health and good for the climate.

Food causes 20-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Changes to your diet can make a really significant difference.

Eat less than 100g/3.5oz meat per day to save over half a tonne CO2e a year.

Cut that to less than 50g or 1.75oz meat per day to save an additional 350kg CO2e.

While eating a small amount of red meat has been shown to be beneficial, studies agree that processed meats raise the risks. 

More than half the world’s crops are used to feed animals. These crops produce more nitrous oxide than crops for people.

Nitrous oxide is released by fertilisers and manure and is hundreds of times more potent than CO2 in terms of climate change. 

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The impact

To have a good chance of keeping global warming within 2 degrees we need to reduce meat consumption in the developed world by 50% by 2050. Meat consumption in the developing world is rising but remains comparatively very low. 

Biodiversity

There’s more to it than climate change. Livestock based food production is the key source of water pollution, competes with biodiversity and promotes species extinctions.

Intensive farming

It is suggested that intensively farmed beef has a lower climate impact than free range, due to the lower land use and feed which does not induce so much methane. On the other hand the Soil Association suggests that organically farmed grasslands could not only improve soil condition and water retention but also store carbon and counterbalance the methane impacts of beef and lamb farming. While it remains in question there are ethical, environmental and health reasons for choosing high welfare, organic, free range, pasture raised meat.

Source: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK, Peter Scarborough et al, Oxford University 2014.

Photo courtesy Michael Stern. 

22.11.2015
 
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Total Carbon saved on this action 27980 kg CO2e
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