With a predominantly vegetarian diet, rich countries would reduce emissions by 61%

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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According to a new study, if high-income nations ate a predominantly plant-based diet they would reduce emissions by 61%.

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As everyone knows, foods of animal origin have a higher environmental impact than plant alternatives and are consumed more in high-income countries. A new study shows what would happen if 54 rich countries switched to a predominantly plant-based diet.

According to the authors of the study, published in Nature Food, by radically changing their diet, high-income countries could reduce their agricultural emissions by nearly two-thirds.

Citizens of high-income nations currently have the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through their dietary choices, because their diets are usually more meat-oriented. In fact, products of animal origin determine 70% of the emissions of the food system in high-income countries while only 22% in low-middle-income countries.

The study was conducted using the EAT-Lancet, mainly plant-based but flexible and defined as "an optimal diet for human health and environmental sustainability". Read also: Universal diet: the menu to save health and the planet has been published in The Lancet

The survey evaluated the reduction in emissions resulting from the adoption of this type of diet using a set of data obtained from the statistical database of the Food and Agriculture Organization of 2010, linked to FABIO (Food and Agriculture Biomass Input-Output).

The results show that strongly reducing the consumption of food of animal origin could help to free up a larger area of ​​land than the entire European Union!

And the return of this earth to its natural state would allow it to capture nearly 100 billion tons of carbon by the end of the century.

As we read in the study:

Our results show that such a change in diet could reduce emissions by 61% of annual agricultural production of the diets of high-income nations, sequestering up to 98,3 (55,6–143,7) GtCO 2 equivalent, equal to about 14 years of current global agricultural emissions until natural vegetation matures.

@Nature Food

The authors add that this level of carbon captured:

could potentially fulfill high-income countries' CO2 removal obligations necessary to limit warming to 1,5 ° C under the principles of sharing equality.

Above all, the United States, France, Australia and Germany would see most of the benefits, the study notes, as production and consumption of meat and dairy products are particularly high in these countries.

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Source: Nature

Read also:

  • How many emissions could be cut if you switched to a vegan diet?
  • With a vegetarian or vegan diet, CO2 emissions are halved
  • Cattle and rice crops are the main causes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the study
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