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Meat and climate change are related as the production of meat leads to climate change. Since meat production emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases. In fact, FAO states that meat- and dairy are responsible for about 14.5 % of global emissions.  

Meat and climate change 

The large-scale meat production of red meat, like pork and beef, is responsible for high emissions. Therefore, there is a connection between meat and climate change. The emissions come from the agricultural production process and through land-use change. For example, producing large amounts of meat require a lot of lands. As there is a need for fields for crop production. Since the animals themselves are fed with crops. And, there is a need for fields for pastureland.  

The above is connected to both deforestation and pollution. Which are two sectors that further emit greenhouse gases. More so, many of the crop fields that exist are sprayed with chemical fertilizers. These are known to be very bad for the environment. For example, they emit the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Hence, the feed for the animals is a huge contributor to climate change. 

Then, all the animals emit the greenhouse gas methane. This happens when the animals digest grasses and plants. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Finally, meat is transported all over the world. Which is connected to large emissions from the transport sector. For example, beef is transported from the US to China.  

Meat and emissions

Reducing the climate impact of meat

The impact of meat and climate change can be reduced with more sustainable production. Particularly, with a much better treatment of the land. Naturally, with a much better treatment of the animals as well. More so, meat should be a local product. Meaning that it shouldn’t be transported all over the world. However, the most important part to reduce the climate impact of meat is to eat much less of it. Actually, throughout history humans have been used to eating much less meat than today. Which suggests that human bodies could be better adapted to a lower intake. 

According to the World Resource Institute, people must stop eating so much meat. This doesn’t mean that the entire world needs to go on a vegan or vegetarian diet. But it is good for the planet if people eat much less meat. However, choosing to be vegan or vegetarian for the environment today is still good. As many people continue eating too much meat. In fact, studies also show that eating less meat is good for humans. Since eating a lot of meat is connected to different health risks, like heart disease.


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