Plant-Based Lifestyles Now ‘Imperative’ For Survival, IPCC Climate Expert Says

An IPCC expert reviewer has warned that veganism is a matter of life and death, not just diet


3 Minutes Read

A little girl holds a globe in front of a landfill Reducing animal agriculture is essential for the planet, say experts - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

The global climate crisis will continue to worsen unless meat and dairy are removed from diets. That’s according to Dr. Peter Carter, an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Carter stated his opinion as New Zealand’s agricultural sector gears up for potential price emissions (this is a cost applied to carbon pollution, introduced to encourage a reduction in emissions). 

New Zealand has previously railed against recommendations for plant-based diets, especially those in the IPCC report. But Carter states that a world without animal agriculture is now essential for human survival.

“Ethically, all unnecessary methane sources have to be cut as fast and far as feasible. That means global veganization is now a survival imperative,” he said.

Carter made the declaration in response to Durwood Zaelke and his discussion of the methane emergency. The UN demands a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030, to prevent global heating from rising above 1.5C.

Governments are now being lobbied to understand the gravity of the climate crisis, with plant-based diets included in the conversation.

Those pleading the case for plant-based lifestyles include Nobel laureates like Klaus Hasselmann, who won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Carlos Nobre, a 2007 Nobel Prize winner and IPCC author, who are members of the Plant Based Treaty, an initiative “designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis.” Each used the Bonn Climate Change Conference, held in June, as a platform.

Why is veganism the answer to survival and the climate crisis?

IPCC research suggests that increased vegan diet uptake will positively impact the climate. This is due to reduced emissions when comparing plant crops to animal rearing. In addition, if everybody switched to plant-based eating, agricultural land demand would fall by 75 percent.

It takes 100 times more land to produce one kilo of beef or lamb than a plant-based equivalent protein crop. If the world turns vegan, land usage will reduce from 4.1 billion hectares to 1 billion and emissions will plummet.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of all anthropogenic emissions. It directly contributes one-third of all human-caused methane, leading experts to advise an immediate cessation of meat consumption. 

“Diet is something that you can change really easily, really quickly. You don’t need any new technology for it. We don’t need to get a silver wand and make any magic happen,” Claire Insley of the Vegan Society Aotearoa said, per RNZ.

She added: “We don’t have the resources to have eight billion people eating meat and dairy. It just doesn’t exist on this one planet that we are on. So we do actually have to move toward a plant-based diet.”

“The quicker we do that, the quicker we will be saving our land, and the quicker we will be saving our water resources. And actually, it improves our human health.”

Government officials supporting veganism

Last year, 14 UK politicians, including prominent Green Party members, signed an early day motion to encourage citizens to take up plant-based eating. A focus on whole foods plant-based diets is currently lacking in government dietary guidelines.

The group pledged to end animal agriculture for good. Working alongside the Plant Based Treaty, its motion seeks to prevent UK animal farming from progressing, while promoting viable alternatives for feeding the nation.

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