The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a new report that, among other things, urges humanity to eat far less meat. The report claims that a less meaty diet will free up valuable land — especially in Amazonia — to soak up more carbon from the air.
The report contends with “high confidence” that diets that are more plant and grain based will not only help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and lessen global temperature increase — but will also be healthier for mankind. A switch away from meat-based diets will “present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health.”
The report is concerned with land use and agricultural practices, which the authors claim is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. “Agriculture, forestry and other types of land use account for 28% of human greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jim Skea, the co-chair of IPCC Working Group 3. “At the same time natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to almost a third of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry.”
The report is full of information about how managing land resources in a more sustainable [there’s the UN’s favorite word again] way will be a big part of keeping the predicted rise in global temperature to 1.5C or less. And not only will the Earth remain cooler, the report contends that we can also wipe out global hunger.
“Land already in use could feed the world in a changing climate and provide biomass for renewable energy, but early, far reaching action across several areas is required,” said Hans-Otto Pӧrtner, the co-chair of IPCC Working Group 2.