Systemic change toward more plant-based diets is critical for avoiding catastrophic environmental damage, including climate change.
Animal food products that humans consumer contribute a large proportion of food system climate impacts. Of the various reasons to choose a largely vegetarian diet, the low efficiency of producing animal food in relation to the its contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the growing world population has moved it to the Top Reasons to Eat Plant-Based Foods.
A study led by Dr. Marco Springmann, who is a Senior Researcher on Environmental Sustainability and Public Health at the University of Oxford. A global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, the study outlines.
The food system is responsible for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the majority of those emissions (roughly three quarters) are due to animal products.
Dietary changes towards more plant-based diets can therefore make a huge difference in our carbon footprints, and they might indeed be necessary in order to avoid dangerous levels of climate change and stay below a global warming of below 2 degrees Celsius.
Meat production is the single most important source of methane, which has a relatively high warming potential but a low half-life in the environment.
Moreover a change towards more plant-based diets could reduce premature mortality by up to 20% by preventing many diet-related diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Reference- Cleantechnica, Oxford University Press, Elsevier Report