Switching to Plant-Based Diet Could Yield ‘Double Climate Dividend’ for Rich Nations

Nature consists of chain reactions, many of them complex and far-reaching. In a recent study, published in the journal Nature Food, researchers found that if wealthier countries ate less meat and more vegetables, farmland could be rewilded, leaving it for native plants and trees to grow. And the carbon dioxide reduction from the atmosphere could be huge: 98.3 billion tons by the end of the century, BBC News reported.  One-fourth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from food and agriculture, and in wealthy countries the majority of that is from livestock. Raising animals requires an enormous amount of land for grazing and growing fodder. If the high-income countries of the world reduced the meat content of their diets, more land would be open to use its natural processes to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. According to Our World in Data, nearly 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock, while meat produces less than 20 percent of the planet’s total calories, Carbon Brief reported.

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