Diets Are ‘Main Determinant’ Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Study

Researchers found scenarios with vegan diets gave off the lowest GHG emissions - whilst those with 'high meat demand' gave off the highest


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Scenarios with vegan diets gave off the lowest emissions. - Media Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission

Diets are the ‘main determinant’ of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new study published in ScienceDirect.

The paper, titled Food systems in a zero-deforestation world: Dietary change is more important than intensification for climate targets in 2050, aims to ‘improve understanding of the environmental impacts of different food system futures’.

‘High meat demand’

It found diets including a ‘high meat demand’ – especially if focused on ‘ruminant meat and milk’ – gave off the highest GHG emissions, whilst scenarios with vegan diets gave off the lowest emissions. 

The study also states that the global food system is currently responsible for 25-30 percent of human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

‘A change in dietary demand’

“Our results suggest that the choice and composition of future diets is highly important for GHG emissions of the food system, as well as for society-climate interaction in its entirety,” the study concludes.

“A change in dietary demand has a large effect on sparing areas and can substantially help to increase C-uptake through vegetation regrowth. We show that today’s business-as-usual and meat-dominant diets would have the highest GHG emissions out of any dietary choice of the future option space.”

You can read the full study here

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