Producing food for the world's 7.6 billion people creates about 13.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year, plus other major environmental effects. A new study published in Science attempts to take stock of the global food system's environmental footprint, and proposes how to reduce it.
Between the lines: The study makes the point that greater gains can be made by altering human dietary habits than by changing food production practices. If people were to switch to plant-based diets, we would reduce food's emissions by up to 70% and slash the amount of land devoted to agricultural use by about three-quarters.
"This says something new — it will always be better to consume vegetable proteins/milks, rather than trying to purchase sustainable animal products"— study co-author Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford