Last week a new report from the United Nations urging nations to reduce meat and dairy consumption to combat climate change was leaked.
According to a draft of the report obtained by Reuters, global warming growth is on course to exceed 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit), which would exceed the most stringent goal set in the Paris agreement by around 2040. The report did state that countries could keep warming below this dangerous level if “rapid and far-reaching” changes were made.
Bill Hare, climate scientist and climate analytics director, said:
This IPCC report shows anyone drawing from published papers that there are big differences between 1.5 and 2 degrees warming in both natural and human systems. Two degrees warming and the tropical reefs have basically no chance—1.5 degrees, they have a small to modest chance of survival.
Hare suggests many ways countries can reduce their carbon emissions, a major one being cutting back meat and dairy consumption. But this isn’t the first time reducing consumption of animal products has been suggested as a way to help the planet. A recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your carbon footprint by 73 percent. In fact, researchers concluded that if everyone went vegan, global land use could be reduced by 75 percent. This reduction would be comparable to the size of the United States, China, Australia, and the whole European Union combined. Let that sink in.
Similarly, a recent report from Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return found that the meat industry is jeopardizing the Paris climate agreement by failing to properly report its emissions, despite being the single largest contributor to climate change.
Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprits. In fact, even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565-gigaton CO2e limit by 2030.
Clearly there is no such thing as “sustainable” meat, and plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs take a mere fraction of the resources to produce as their animal-based counterparts.
But a vegan diet isn’t just good for the planet—it also spares countless animals a lifetime of misery at factory farms. Pigs, cows, chickens, fish, and other farmed animals suffer horribly. From birth to death, these poor animals are caught in a nightmare: cruelly confined, brutally mutilated, and violently killed.
So what are you waiting for? Join the millions of people helping protect farmed animals and the planet by switching to a vegan diet.