Many countries around the world have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global heating to no more than 1.5C. The UK, France, Denmark, Spain, and Germany all have the net zero target, but whether or not they are making sufficient moves to reach it is questionable.
According to the UN, countries are not on track to reach their targets. If they were to have a hope of reaching net zero, the UN says, they should take “bold, immediate steps towards reducing emissions now.”
Much of the conversations about reaching net zero by 2050 focus on reducing fossil fuels. There’s no doubt such a reduction is necessary, but it’s not the end of the story. A growing body of research is pointing to an additional solution that could help us to cool the planet, provide a viable answer to combating the climate crisis, and become carbon negative: the food system.
The problem with animal farming
A move away from animal agriculture is essential for continuation of the planet as we know it. Livestock farming contributes to at least 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but emissions themselves are just the start of the problem. Arguably a more pressing issue is the huge amount of land it uses up (sheep farming alone in the UK takes up four million hectares).
Experts have long argued that freeing up this land could prove vital in avoiding climate collapse. A study from Harvard found that if the UK adopted a plant-based diet and rewilded farmland, we would draw down enough carbon to offset 12 years’ worth of the UK’s current emissions.
Plant Based News founder Klaus Mitchell explored the issue in a talk at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. You can watch a clip of the presentation below:
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