December 12, 2009

Eat Less Meat And Dairy, For Planet’s Sake

According to a senior authority on climate change, eating meat has a major impact on global warming and could become as socially unacceptable as drunk-driving.

To help reduce global carbon emissions, Lord Stern of Brentford says people will have to consider turning to a vegetarian diet.

"Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better," Stern said.

Scientists believe farm animals, like cattle and sheep, are to blame for up to a quarter of "man-made" methane emissions.

Stern, whose 2006 Stern Review warned that countries needed to spend 1% of their GDP to stop greenhouse gases rising to dangerous levels, said a successful deal at the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December would massively increase the cost of producing meat.

Stern predicted that people's concerns about climate change would lead to meat eating becoming unacceptable.

He says, "I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating. I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food."

Stern, a former chief economist at the World Bank and now IG Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, also warned that helping developing countries to cope with the adverse effects of global warming would cost British taxpayers about £3bn a year by 2015.

Meanwhile, an international effort to ensure that biofuel used by Britain and other western countries to tackle global warming does not damage the environment is on the brink of collapse.


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