February 10, 2009
An article published in today’s NewScientist Magazine says cutting back on meet intake could save $20 trillion in the fight against climate change. According to the article, researchers involved say that reducing intake of beef and pork would lead to the creation of a huge new carbon sink, as vegetation would thrive on unused farmland. “The model takes into account farmland that is used to grow extra food to make up for the lost meat, but that requires less area, so some will be abandoned. Millions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, would also be saved every year due to reduced emissions from farms,” say the authors of the study.
If the global population shifted to a low-meat diet – defined as 70 grams of beef and 325 grams of chicken and eggs per week – around 15 million square kilometres of farmland would be freed up. Vegetation growing on this land would mop up carbon dioxide. It could alternatively be used to grow bioenergy crops, which would displace fossil fuels.