Slice Emissions Not Meat

Monday 1st September 2014

We are concerned about saving energy and becoming more energy efficient, one way would be to become vegetarians - or at least reduce our meat eating.

Research by Cambridge and Aberdeen Universities in the UK have revealed that farming methods to produce meat are incredibly inefficient and add substantially to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that – if current trends continue – food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total GHG emissions in 2050.

The study’s authors say we should all think carefully about the food we choose and its environmental impact. A shift to healthier diets across the world is just one of a number of actions that need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure there is enough food for all.

The study predicts that by 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42% and fertiliser use increased sharply by 45% over 2009 levels. A further tenth of the world’s pristine tropical forests would disappear over the next 35 years.

The study shows that increased deforestation, fertilizer use and livestock methane emissions are likely to cause GHG from food production to increase by almost 80%. This will put emissions from food production alone roughly equal to the target greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 for the entire global economy.

Lead researcher Bojana Bajzelj from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, said: “The average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat is less than 3%, and as we eat more meat, more arable cultivation is turned over to producing feedstock for animals that provide meat for humans.

“The losses at each stage are large, and as humans globally eat more and more meat, conversion from plants to food becomes less and less efficient, driving agricultural expansion and land cover conversion, and releasing more greenhouse gases. Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is.”

So save energy, improve energy efficiency and you will reduce your utility bills and for the longer term, and many would say more importantly, the environment - but it could all be for nothing if we then sit down to a huge steak!

You do not have to become a vegetarian, just changed your diet for your health and the health of the planet. The ‘average’ balanced diet used in the study is a relatively achievable goal for most. For example, the figures included two 85g portions of red meat and five eggs per week, as well as a portion of poultry a day.

You will probably also save energy from cooking less dense red meat - unless you like yours very rare!

Source (not gravy): University of Cambridge

Picture by Timo1974

Categories: General, Reviews

Monday 1st September 2014

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