‘Eat less meat and dairy to save the planet’, new UN-backed report claims

Posted on the 8th October 2018

New research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that we are heading towards ‘climate catastrophe’, unless we act now.

The report sets out a very bleak future for our planet, suggesting that if we do not make changes to our lifestyles and habits, globally, we will be unable to keep global temperatures at the preferred target of 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels.

According to the BBC, this new study says that going past 1.5oC is dicing with the planet’s liveability. And the 1.5oC temperature “guard rail” could be exceeded in just 12 years in 2030.

As a result of this, the report makes a number of recommendations for governments and individuals; this includes re-planting of forests, reducing our reliance on cars and vehicles and reducing the amount of meat and dairy we consume.

But what does meat and dairy have to do with it?

According to previous UN reports, 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to animal farming, whereas motorised transport – which includes planes, cars, trucks and ships – is responsible for around 13%.

Farming animals in such high numbers results in the release of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide which is 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide. Animal farming accounts for more than half of global emissions of nitrous oxide.

A 2014 study by Oxford University found that the carbon footprint of a vegan diet was as much as 60% smaller than that of a meat-based diet, and 24% smaller that a vegetarian diet. In addition, a 2018 study by researchers at Oxford University concluded that:

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.”

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