People Who Go Vegan in Germany Reduce Their Carbon Footprint by Two Tons

Sinnbild des ökologischen Fußabdrucks: Ein Baum mit halb Blättern und Rasen unter sich und eine Seite mit kahlen Ästen und verdörrtem Boden.
© jozsitoeroe – stock.adobe.com

The German magazine SPIEGEL recently commissioned ecologist Joseph Poor of the University of Oxford, UK, to calculate the carbon footprint of a German vegan. The results showed that vegans produce nine tons of greenhouse gases instead of eleven, with an otherwise unchanged lifestyle.

The calculation follows on from a study by the University of Oxford last year, which vegconomist has already reported on. This study examines the current effects of agriculture around the globe and the associated environmental problems. The core finding of the study was that the global meat and dairy industry has the largest environmental footprint on the planet, with particularly negative impacts on people and nature.

The results of the study are based on a comprehensive data set on global agriculture. It examined 40,000 farms in 119 countries and a wide range of foods, accounting for around 90 percent of all food products. The impact of all environmental factors along the entire value chain – from the producer to the end consumer – of land use, greenhouse gases produced, use of fresh water, and water and air pollution caused, was analysed.

Oxford University’s research shows that use of agricultural land could be reduced by up to 75 percent if meat and dairy products were not being produced. In addition, animal products provide only about 18 percent of all calories and 37 percent of all protein consumed worldwide. However, they account for about 83 percent of global agricultural land use and more than 60 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.