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Visionary Vegetarianism: Meat, Dairy, and the Future of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Your individual dietary choices could mean more than ever, according to a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. If the American population were to reduce its consumption of meat and dairy products, in conjunction with changes in farming practices and technique, the United States could reduce emissions of methane and nitrous oxide by 80% by 2055.

Matthew McDermott elaborates on Treehugger:

Summing up the research, study lead author Alexander Popp of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research says, "Meat and milk really matter. Reduced consumption could decrease the future emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture to levels below those of 1995."

"The calculations show that global agricultural non-carbon dioxide (non-CO2) emissions increase significantly until 2055 if food energy consumption and diet preferences remain constant at the level of 1995. Taking into account changing dietary preferences towards higher value foods, like meat and milk, associated with higher income, emissions will rise even more. In contrast, reducing the demand for livestock products by 25 percent each decade from 2015 to 2055, leads to lower non-CO2 emissions even compared to 1995." (Science Daily)

The researchers note that in addition to changing consumer demand for meat and dairy products--which they cite as the most important thing--technical changes in agriculture technique to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are also necessary to see these sort of emission reductions.


Read the full post on Treehugger.

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar (cc) via Flickr courtesy of Treehugger.

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