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Climate change and food choices go hand in hand!

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Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of global warming will fall short without drastic changes in international land use, agriculture, and human diets, according to high-level research supported by the U.N. The industries and government will need to make the changes for countries to meet long and short-term emissions goals. People can power the house with green energy, and drive hybrid can reduce energy usage and the natural gas extractions needed to fuel that energy.

The easiest thing that people can do to impact climate change is switching their diet. Experts say they don’t have become vegetarian or completely give up on meat products. The easiest way to make food more sustainable is to eat more organic food and less meat. Plant-based foods the closer they are better expert says. Certain meals can be high in carbon footprint.

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A special report on climate change and land by IPCC describe plant-based diets as a significant opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change. There is a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption. In the American diet, meat consumption is the most significant reason for greenhouse emissions. Meat consumption challenge planetary boundaries. In the American diet, meat and beef, according to experts, represent the majority of the carbon footprint. The U.S. consumes the 2nd most significant amount of beef per person globally.

Recently in research, consumers were surveyed about their diet found that 56% of the carbon footprint in all diets in the U.S. comes from meat, and 45% of that comes from beef. The rest of the footprint comes from the fossil fuels used to transport the products, the land and water used to grow them, and the fossil fuels used for pesticides. The researcher found that the U.S. could get 10% closer to its climate goals of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius only if the 20% of the population who ate a diet high in carbon footprint starts eating a diet less in carbon footprint.

Experts say that a reduction in animal-based food consumption by 50% will help save 224 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. To meet climate goals that could represent 24% of the reduction in emissions. Eliminating meat from the diet at least one day a week can make a difference.

The carbon footprint of a meal increases the higher up the food chain a person eats. The leading cause is the amount of feed it takes to sustain the animals. Experts in feed-to-food ratios often measure sustainability. The amount of feed required to produce one unit of beef is huge is compared to chicken. Cattle raised in pastures are created mainly by clearing trees and plants, which are particularly emission-intensive. This leads to large-scale deforestation.

When cows have indigestion, they emit methane which is a massive contributor to the greenhouse effect. After processing the microorganisms in the cow’s gut, the enteric fermentation process releases the heat-trapping gas as a byproduct. The food sustainability and the efficiency of food making are measured in acres. To maintain, cows take lots of land and even grow seeds to feed them.

Sixty-five million additional Americans could be sustained in full researchers found if the land acres were no longer used to produce beef. This would mean eating upwards of 80 grams of protein per person per day. In some parts of the world, deforestation can be seen because people want to produce more food. For example, the Amazon rainforest is a vast carbon sink that acts to cool global temperature, but deforestation is rising. Amazon forests, much of the remaining part could turn into a degraded type of desert unless deforestation is stopped. In 30 to 50 years could release more than 50 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

Aside from cutting meat consumption, another thing that needs attention is the wastage of food. When food is wasted, all the energy and water are wasted, which are required to grow, harvest, transport, and package. If the food goes into rots and landfills, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas. If food wastage can be stopped, about 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced. In the U.S. alone, the wasted food generates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 32.6 million cars emissions.

As the world’s population grows, the challenge shouldn’t be growing more food but feeding people by reducing waste. At the consumer level, people can do many things like giving leftover food to the needy and shopping more intelligent. Composting waste food is a better option. If Americans start composing the food waste, 24.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas could be saved from emitting. Only 28% of Americans compose food waste. Every individual can take small steps to curb emissions. 

Activities related to agricultural and forestry land management produce almost one-quarter of heat-trapping gases resulting from human activities. Unless the land is used in a more sustainable and climate-friendly way, the goal set in the international Paris climate agreement made in2015 will be challenging to achieve. Humans need to preserve and restore forests that soak up carbon from the air.

45% of less energy is used by organic farming than conventional crop production. There are lots of issues about how crops are produced in the U.S. For agricultural production, the U.S. is dependent on fossil fuel industries. If chemical input can be reduced, we can make a huge difference. If farmers start using synthetic fertilizers, it will make a huge difference. Nitrous oxide emissions have increased by 30%, and agricultural operations create two-thirds of the emissions. At present, only 5.5 million acres in the U.S. are under organic production. Only 6% of all food is produced organically.

Purchasing the local food reduces the carbon footprint as it reduces transportation. 30% of the vegetables and fruits the American eat is imported. For the experts, the ideal sustainable meal varies.

Conclusion –

The food system is the major contributor to climate change. Without a significant shift in the global diets, it is unlikely the world will achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement. A balanced diet that includes plant-based and sustainably produced animal-sourced food is one of the primary sources of climate change control. Dietary changes by 2050 will free up several million square kilometers of land and reduce carbon dioxide emission by up to eight billion tonnes per year.

 

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