An increase in Western diets could lead to an 32 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector by 2050 if left unchecked, a new paper published in Nature has said.

Increasing incomes and urbanisation is leading to diets high in refined sugars, refined fats, oils and meats. As well as causing increases in type II diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease, the environmental consequences are major, increasing GHG emissions and land clearing.

Using life cycle analysis, researchers found Mediterranean, pescetarian and vegetarian diets could lead to GHG reductions of 30 per cent, 45 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, and that there would be no increase in global greenhouse gas emissions if our diets transitioned to the average of these three diets.

“Our analyses demonstrate that there are plausible solutions to the diet–environment–health trilemma, diets already chosen by many people that, if widely adopted, would offer global environmental and public health benefits.”

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published.

  1. Save taxpayer’s money AND defund climate change and environmental destruction by ending the enormous subsidies and tax breaks for animal agriculture!

    With 60+ BILLION food animals on the planet our best chance to mitigate climate change is to severely reduce consumption of animal foods. More than 1/3 of human induced warming is attributable to animal agriculture. Methane is 24 times more potent than CO2 but takes only 7 years to cycle out of the atmosphere. CO2 takes around 100 years to come out. Human pursuit of animal protein is the leading cause of methane release and a primary cause of CO2 concentrating in the atmosphere. Check the facts and act!

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    “A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy.” ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy