Going Vegan to Slow Climate Change and Avoid Pandemics The two hottest topics of 2021:
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
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.
"We're not telling people to stop eating meat. In some places people have no other choice. But it's obvious that in the West we're eating far too much," said Prof Pete Smith, an environmental scientist from Aberdeen University, UK.
We're also wasting too much food. The panel estimates that greenhouse emissions associated with food loss and waste - from field to kitchen bin - is as high as 8-10% of ALL global emissions.
The report calls for vigorous action to halt soil damage and desertification - both of which contribute to climate change.
It also warns that plans by some governments to grow trees and burn them to generate electricity will compete with food production unless carried out on a limited scale.
The Earth's land surface, and the way it is used, forms the basis for human society and the global economy.
But we are re-shaping it in dramatic ways, including through the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. How the land responds to human-induced climate change is a vital concern for the future.