Today an official summary of the latest UN report has been released, as a means to inform the upcoming climate negotiations and advise about the global climate crisis. It says that by 2050, dietary changes could free millions of square kilometres of land, and reduce global CO2 emissions by up to eight billion tonnes per year.
Last week we reported on the leaked UN report which calls for a drastic re-think in which we use the earth’s resources, calling also for an increase in plantbased diets. The report was compiled by over 100 experts of which around half are from developing countries.
It highlights the scale of deforestation and its devastating effects, stating that it is possible that the Amazon would become degraded desertland, with the potential to release 50 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. The timescale given here is not hundreds of years in the future, but in 30-50 years, when most of us or our children will still be here on the planet.
Deforestation takes place on an immense scale, and a vast percentage of this is due to the clearing of land for animal agriculture for the growing appetite for meat around the world, and to grow seeds and grains to feed the “livestock” in order to supply this habit.
“We don’t want to tell people what to eat,” says ecologist Hans-Otto Pörtner, “But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat.”
The report asserts that plant-based diets “present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health”.
“It’s really exciting that the IPCC is getting such a strong message across,” says Ruth Richardson, the Toronto, Canada-based executive director at the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, a strategic coalitions of philanthropic foundations. “We need a radical transformation, not incremental shifts, towards a global land use and food system that serves our climate needs.”