Monday December 17, 2018

Eat Less Meat To Meet Climate Targets: Study

Methane emissions from the livestock sector are projected to rise by 60 per cent by 2030 — the same time period over which strong and rapid reductions are needed

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Eat less meat to meet climate targets, claims study. Pixabay
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The livestock sector could use almost half of the 1.5 degrees Celsius greenhouse gas emission budget allowed by 2030, so addressing this should be a key part of the strategy to hit climate targets, a new study said on Tuesday.

Farmed animal law and policy fellow Helen Harwatt at Harvard Law School advises that getting protein from plant sources instead of animal sources would drastically help in meeting climate targets and reduce the risk of overshooting temperature goals.

For the first time, Harwatt proposes a three-step strategy to gradually replace animal proteins with plant-sourced proteins, as part of the commitment to mitigate climate change.

These are acknowledging that current numbers of livestock are at their peak and will need to decline.

Set targets to transition away from livestock products starting with foods linked with the highest greenhouse gas emissions such as beef, then cow’s milk and pork.

The best available food approach is assessing suitable replacement products against a range of criteria, including greenhouse gas emission targets, land usage and public health benefits.

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Avoid the intake of processed meat in your diet. Pixabay

In the study published in Climate Policy, Harwatt further elaborates that recent evidence shows, in comparison with the current food system, switching from animals to plants proteins could potentially feed an additional 350 million people in the US alone.

Previous studies suggested reducing meat and dairy consumption also provides a range of added benefits such as preserving biodiversity and improving human health.

The article reports that the current livestock population in the world is around 28 billion animals and constitutes the highest source of two major greenhouse gases — methane and nitrous oxide.

Also Read- SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Wants To Live on Mars

The production of methane in particular is troublesome, as it has an 85 times greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe.

Methane emissions from the livestock sector are projected to rise by 60 per cent by 2030 — the same time period over which strong and rapid reductions are needed.

“Given the livestock sector’s significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and methane dominance, animal to plant protein shifts make a much-needed contribution to meeting the Paris temperature goals and reducing warming in the short term, while providing a suite of co-benefits,” Harwatt added. (IANS)

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Asia’s Increase In Consumption Of Meat To Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

“You have a lot of people in Asia who don’t get that great a diet so animal-sourced food intake will increase,” said the FAO’s Dawe.

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Commuters stand at an open doorway of a suburban train during the morning rush hour in Kolkata, India, July 31, 2015. India is set to overtake China and become the world's most populous country in less than a decade - six years sooner than previously forecast, the United Nations said in 2015. VOA

Asia’s growing appetite for meat and seafood over the next three decades will cause huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions and antibiotics used in foods, researchers said Tuesday.

Rising population, incomes and urbanization will drive a 78 percent increase in meat and seafood demand from 2017 to 2050, according to a report by Asia Research and Engagement Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based consultancy firm.

“We wanted to highlight that, because of the large population and how fast the population is growing, it is going to put a strain on the environment,” said co-author Serena Tan.

“By recognizing this and where it comes from, we can tackle the solutions,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Asia’s growing appetite for meat and seafood over the next three decades will cause huge increases in greenhouse gas.

More carbon dioxide, antibiotics

With supply chains ramping up to meet demand, greenhouse gas emissions will jump from 2.9 billion tons of CO2 per year to 5.4 billion tons, the equivalent of the lifetime emissions of 95 million cars, the researchers said.

A land area the size of India will be needed for additional food production, according to the report, while water use will climb from 577 billion cubic meters per year to 1,054 billion cubic meters per year.

The use of antimicrobials, which kill or stop the growth of microorganisms, and include antibiotics, will increase 44 percent to 39,000 tons per year, said the report, which was commissioned by the Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food is rife in Southeast Asia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said this year, warning of serious risks for people and animals as bacterial infections become more resistant to treatment.

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Avoid the intake of processed meat in your diet. Pixabay

Income growth

Growing urban areas contribute to the rising demand for meat and seafood, because people there usually have better access to electricity and refrigeration, said David Dawe, a senior economist at the FAO in Bangkok.

“But income growth is the big driver,” he added.

Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Pakistan are among nations likely to contribute most to the rise in meat and seafood consumption, while countries with aging populations, like China, will likely limit growth, Tan said.

Food producers can increase efficiency by implementing rainwater harvesting, using sustainable animal feed and capturing biogas from cattle, Tan said.

Also Read: Environmentalists Investigate The Kerala Floods

Regulators, consumers and investors can also pressure restaurant chains and producers to limit the use of antibiotics in meat supplies, she added.

At meal times, consumers can also choose plant-based foods made to look like meats as an alternative, Tan said.

“You have a lot of people in Asia who don’t get that great a diet so animal-sourced food intake will increase,” said the FAO’s Dawe. “In many ways it’s a good thing for nutrition, but it does raise environmental issues.” (VOA)