Squashing the beef: Here's the staggering climate impact of a simple diet change

New York, New York - According to a recent study published in Nature, simply eating less meat, specifically from cows and sheep, could drop the world's agriculture emissions by 60%.

Eating meat and dairy products could help stop climate change.
Eating meat and dairy products could help stop climate change.  © IMAGO / Panthermedia

If the 54 high-income countries researchers looked at made this change to nutrition, it would have a domino effect on the climate. There's a strong link between what you eat and how much land it takes to grow that food, so this solution could free up enough land to store over a decade's worth of the sector's emissions.

The shift could open up the farmland that grows food for livestock as prime real estate for "rewilding", or letting natural plants grow there and lock up CO2.

The numbers are pretty staggering, because if those countries really did change their diets, it could lead to rewilding one billion acres of land. land could grow plants and store almost 100 gigatons of CO2, which the study says is the same as 14 years of the world's current agricultural emissions.

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The study also suggested that one way to make the change happen would be if rich nations like the US adopted non-profit organization EAT-Lancet's planetary health diet, which was designed around meeting the Paris Agreement goals.

The diet focuses on "whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes," and even though meat and dairy are on the menu, they would be much smaller servings.

What you eat really can make a difference. Less meat and dairy consumption means more chances of solving the climate crisis.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

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