Research shows that about 20% of all greenhouse gases are produced by livestock. This alarming statistic makes additional research, like the 2016 Oxford Martin School’s study increasingly relevant. This study aims to determine how different diets could affect food-related greenhouse gas emissions by examining how current dietary patterns will affect the world’s ‘carbon budget’ 2050. Comparing this to the effects of a global switch to vegetarianism.
The research found that shifting to a vegetarian diet would bring food-related emissions down by 63%, that is almost 2/3 of all emissions. Going another step further and adopting widespread vegan diets would reduce emissions by a total of 70%.
The reality of climate change requires action. Some of this action must be taken by individuals making a choice to change their diets. Vegetarianism is not for everyone, however, eating less meat and “adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large step in the right direction.”