Meat consumes the same emissions as half of British cars

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

If every inhabitant of the United Kingdom decides to become a vegetarian or, even better, vegan, there would be environmental benefits equal to those that would be obtained if half of the cars currently on British roads were immediately banned from circulation. These are the encouraging results obtained from a study conducted by a group of Lancaster University researchers, who calculated the environmental impact, with particular attention to co2 emissions, relating to the production of 61 foods.



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If every inhabitant of the UK decided to become a vegetarian or, even better, vegan, there would be benefits for the environment equal to those that would be obtained if half of the cars currently present on British roads were immediately banned from circulation. These are the encouraging results obtained from a study conducted by a group of Lancaster University researchers, who calculated the environmental impact, with particular attention to co2 emissions, relating to the production of 61 foods.



meat and cheese despite themselves, they are at the top of the list of foods considered most polluting. According to experts' calculations, emissions from the entire food industry in the UK would amount to a total of 167 million tons of co2, a figure that could be reduced by 22-26% if only the British decided to opt for a vegetarian diet.

Nick Hewitt, professor of the aforementioned university at the helm of these studies, has released some statements in this regard, reported in the pages of the British newspaper The Independent: "Our analyzes show how food choices can determine a significant impact in relation to emissions of greenhouse gases. The emissions linked to the production of food would thus be reduced by at least a quarter and there would also be evident benefits for the health of the population ”.

According to Hewitt, moreover, if all British citizens became vegetarians, 40 million tons of CO2 would be saved a year resulting from emissions related to the production of food, especially meat. The study in question was published by the authoritative trade journal Energy Policy. From it it emerges that fresh meat and cheeses are the two foods responsible for the greatest amount of emissions, with ben 17 kg of co2 for every kg of meat, since it only drops to 15 kg in the case of cheese.

Emissions from the cultivation and production of food such as potatoes, mele, bread e cereals they are less than 2 kg of carbon dioxide per kilo of product. The values ​​rise in the case of exotic fruit grown in heated greenhouses. As for drinks, the production of wine has a carbon footprint of 2 kg per kilo.



Such data can only be considered as further support for the choices made by those who have decided to opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet in order to reduce their own environmental impact. From the choice not to consume animal products and their derivatives, in fact, it follows the decision not to direct one's purchases towards them and therefore to not finance the coffers of those who produce them.

However, the fact remains that not everyone would be ready to give up meat, cheese and other animal derivatives overnight in the name of the environment. If you dismantle so much of thefood industry it could be considered utopian, perhaps the possibility of taking measures aimed at reducing the harmful emissions it causes might not be.



Marta Albè

Also read the 12 ways to reduce emissions at the table

Read also the 10 foods that are bad for the planet

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