Less Meat = Less Heat

by Warren McLaren, Sydney on 09.24.07

Food & Health (food)

Wanna do something about global warming, but can’t pony up for a Prius or solar panels? There is another option. Reduce your consumption of red meat. Worldwide agriculture, especially livestock production, accounts for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions (see chart after the fold). A report published in the renown medical journal The Lancet proposes that developed countries cut their meat munching to 90g per day, with only 50g of that coming from ruminants such as cattle or sheep. Currently folk in ‘the West’ eat, on average, their own body weight in meat a year. Per day that’s 224g, or the equal of two quarter pounder burgers. In developing countries the daily average is 47g. (100g = 3.5 oz).

Proportion of greenhouse-gas emissions from different parts of livestock production. Adapted from FAO. (from full Lancet report)

The report suggests that maintaining current high red meat consumption contributes to the threats posed by climate change, such as reduced food yields, due to increased weather anomalies like drought, flood, etc. Limiting meat eating will reduce these risks as well as helping to tackle related obesity and cancer issues.

This ain’t the first time this information has come across our pixels. We’ve looked at similar studies before. See here and here, for example.

::The Lancet (free subscription required), the article is entitled Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health, via The Age



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