If 10% of the population switched to plant-based alternatives 176 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be avoided, according to a study conducted by Blue Horizon and PwC.
Global meat production and consumption have been increasing year on year, and according to the report this trend is expected to continue.
However, increasingly researchers are drawing attention to the environmental impact of this growing demand for meat.
In 2018, global consumption of meat reached 285 million tonnes, this required 280 million hectares of land, it used almost 87 billion m3 of water and accounted for at least 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions.
Worldwide, around 38% of habitable land is used for industrial animal agriculture, this is equivalent to the size of the United States, Russia, China and India combined.
16% of freshwater withdrawals go to animal agriculture every single year, and 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial animal agriculture.
According to the study, a 10% switch to plant-based alternatives by 2030 could not only save 176 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, but 38 million hectares of land could be freed and 8.6billion m3 water could be saved each year.
This is enough water for everyone in the state of New York for five years, and the CO2 saving is equivalent to the emissions absorbed by 2.7 billion trees, an area of land bigger than Germany.
Björn Witte, CEO of Blue Horizon said: ‘This study provides detailed and robust information about the true price of consumption of animal proteins and their vegetable alternatives.
‘This work is an important step in helping people to understand how the decisions we make about our protein consumption impact our environment. In addition, it enables investors to better assess the market opportunities in the food 4.0 sector.’
In related news, earlier this month MPs voted against an amendment to the agriculture bill to force trade deals to meet UK animal welfare and food safety walls.
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