The IPCC report calls for dietary change, especially eating less meat, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
The window of limiting global warming is narrowing and the time is now for countries to step into action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions this decade, according to a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The situation is so dire that it is no longer something to leave to one or another solution, like phasing out coal use, new technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide, and tree planting. The IPCC report makes it clear that everything will need to change, from energy, buildings, transport, food, and industry, to lifestyle and dietary changes, notably, eating less meat.
The IPCC report, which draws from 34,000 studies, involving 270 authors from 67 countries, details the most effective climate adaptation approaches and which groups of people and ecosystems are most vulnerable to climate change. The world is already experiencing the disruption of climate change at a temperature of 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit), such as drought, extreme heat, and flooding, all of which threaten the livelihoods and food and water security of millions of people. With every tenth of a degree increase, the threat to people, animal species, and ecosystems increases. The present goal is to limit the warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) by the end of this century, though the IPCC says overshooting it is “almost inevitable.” We need to work to make that a temporary overshoot to prevent irreparable damage.
Reducing our impact on the climate involves individuals, not just governments. The IPCC specifically calls out the need for dietary change, especially eating less meat, to reduce methane in particular. Studies show that plant-based diets are as much as 50% less impactful on the environment than carnivorous diets. That doesn’t have to mean eating no meat, just reducing it. According to the report, the 10% of the biggest emitters who account for a disproportionate amount of global emissions could still enjoy their current lifestyle while reducing their environmental impact. In fact, diet may be the most significant impact we can make. Eating A Climate-Friendly Diet is not only delicious and healthy, it can help lower your carbon footprint. My Top 11 Tips for Sustainable Eating will help you get started today.
To read more about the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, visit here.
Written by Lori Zanteson and Sharon Palmer
Images: Sharon Palmer
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