December 3, 2014

Reducing meat and dairy is crucial to fighting climate change

In an article titled “The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets”, published in the May 2014 issue of Climatic Change, the authors – from the Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden – “conclude that reduced ruminant meat and dairy consumption will be indispensable for reaching the 2 °C target with a high probability”.

And Chatham House, the preeminent establish think tank in the U.K., has just published “Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector”, recognizing that:
  • Consumption of meat and dairy produce is a major driver of climate change.
    • Greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector are estimated to account for 14.5 per cent of the global total, more than direct emissions from the transport sector.
    • Even with ambitious supply-side action to reduce the emissions intensity of livestock production, rising global demand for meat and dairy produce means emissions will continue to rise.
  • Shifting global demand for meat and dairy produce is central to achieving climate goals.
  • However, there is a striking paucity of efforts to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products.
  • The data presented in this paper reveal a major awareness gap about livestock’s contribution to climate change.
  • Climate change is not currently a primary consideration in food choices.