Global meat consumption in 2018 ‘created at least 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions’

Shifting 10% of meat production to plant-based alternatives could save carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 2.7 billion trees, according to a new report

In 2018, 385 million tonnes of meat was eaten around the world, which created at least 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s according to a new analysis by food technology company Blue Horizon Corporation and PwC, which suggests a 10% shift of the global animal market to plant-based products could save carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 2.7 billion trees.

That switch could also free up 38 million hectares of land and save 8.6 billion cubic metres of water every year.

The analysis demonstrated the environmental impact of alternative proteins is 15 times lower than conventionally farmed beef – the average environmental impact per kilogram for beef mince is $7.26 (£5.5), compared to just $0.48 (£0.37) per kilogram of plant-based alternatives.

The report also suggests worldwide, around 38% of habitable land is used for industrial animal agriculture, equivalent in size to the US, Russia, China and India combined.

Björn Witte, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Horizon, commented: “This work is an important step in helping people to understand how the decisions we make about our protein consumption impact our environment.”

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