Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change, UN experts have said.
A major report on land use and climate change says the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.
But scientists and officials stopped short of explicitly calling on everyone to become vegan or vegetarian.
They said that more people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat.
Climate change poses a threat to the security of our food supply. Rising temperatures, increased rain and more extreme weather events will all have an impact on crops and livestock.
But food production also contributes to global warming. Agriculture – together with forestry – accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock rearing contributes to global warming through the methane gas the animals produce, but also via deforestation to expand pastures, for example.
The environmental impact of meat production is important to many vegetarians and vegans. A UK-based group called #NoBeef lobbies caterers to take beef and lamb off student menus.
In the US, vegan burger patties are made from plant-based meat substitutes said to taste like the real thing thanks to an iron-rich compound called heme.