How do diets need to change to meet climate targets?
28 March 2022
While the influence of fossil fuel emissions on climate change has long been recognized, the impact of excessive meat and dairy intake on our world is now better understood. Reforming the food system to save the world will necessitate new corporate practices and national and international laws and regulations. Individual customer actions are also necessary—much more so than you may expect. Your food is most certainly one of the significant contributors to climate change emissions. But how should you proceed.
Eat variety of food
The options are numerous, and the stakes are significant. Experts on land usage, climate change, and sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, advised me that two practices have an environmental impact. Stop wasting food and consume less meat to help save the world. This question can be answered on various scales, ranging from global to individual choices. Food systems are intricate, with greenhouse gas emissions generated at every step of the process, including production, storage, transportation, processing, retail, and cooking.
Rather than simplistic communications, a set of principles is required to assist folks in making sense of this complexity to reach climate commitments. I’ve included three below, but many more come to mind.
- Aim to reduce waste by planning to match perishable goods purchases and quantities to healthy household consumption, including portion sizes.
- Match your fruit and vegetable choices to local seasonal availability, but not to the point of compromising healthy eating habits.
- If your present diet is high in red meat and dairy items, reduce your consumption.
Overall, the most significant action individuals can take is to band together to put pressure on the food business to make environmental sustainability a top priority in all food chain elements.
Second thing to be focus
Second, if we achieve the hoped-for carbon sequestration solutions, we need to reduce the amount of land we utilize to grow our food. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage is now assumed to be used at scale in the most aggressive climate scenarios following the Paris Agreement. However, BECCS on the proposed scale would necessitate a massive amount of land, roughly half of the world’s current cropland. Afforestation and reforestation are two other nature-based climate mitigation methods on the table. Again, these are based on the assumption that sufficient land will be available.
Third thing to be focus
A shift in diet away from carbon-intensive foods like beef, lamb, and dairy could reduce agricultural emissions while also freeing up land for other carbon-sequestering activities like tree planting. In the United Kingdom, farming accounts for more than 70% of land use.