World cannot meet toughest climate targets without eating less meat, study says

A global switch to a ‘plant-rich diet’ would offer the largest reduction in emissions from food production, according to the research

The world cannot meet its most ambitious climate targets without eating less meat, a new study concludes.

The research, published in the Science journal, looks at how various strategies involving the food system could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include a global switch to a “plant-rich” diet, reducing food waste and a move towards greater farming efficiency.

Its results show that, even if fossil fuel emissions were immediately halted, some degree of dietary change will be necessary to keep global warming to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, which is the most optimistic target of the Paris Agreement.

“Without changing food systems, we’ll likely miss the 1.5C target in 30 to 45 years and the 2C target within 100, even if we immediately stop all other sources of emissions,” lead author Dr Michael Clark, a researcher of the environmental impact of food at the University of Oxford, told The Independent….

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