By JULIETTE CAPOMOLLA
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has found society making moves toward a vegetarian diet was a way of reducing the effects of climate change.
According to the report, “all assessed modelled pathways that limit warming to 1.5ºC or well below 2°C require land-based mitigation and land-use change”.
While the report does not tell people what to eat, it promoted awareness around the effects of diet choice, and encouraged readers to enact change.
Senior lecturer in Psychological Sciences at Monash University, Paul Read, said shunning meat is not the only option.
“If you do need to eat meat you can still reduce your footprint by avoiding milk, beef and mutton from high-methane producing animals, in favour of white meat and eggs,” he said.
Mr Read said the value of a vegetarian diet extends beyond climate change.
“Encouraging people to eat more vegetarian-based diets is one way of reducing dangerous climate emissions while simultaneously enhancing healthy lifestyles,” he said.
Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for about 23 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions between 2007 and 2016, according to the report.
This is predominantly because livestock produce large amounts of methane gas which is one of the four biggest greenhouse gases.
Clearing land to make way for farms is also a large contributor to climate change, according to the Food Climate Report Network.
Monash student and vegetarian, Maya Croome, said making the switch to a vegetarian diet was a “no brainer”.
“I can make small changes to so-greatly reduce my impact,” she said.
While one person cannot impact the whole system, she said people would have the greatest effect on our environment if they rejected meat consumption and encouraged others to do the same.
“As demand for animal products goes down, there will be less of a need to ruin our environment,” Ms Croome said.
According to the Roy Morgan Research Institute, more than 12 per cent of the Australian population have diets that are primarily vegetarian, an increase of almost 1 per cent in four years.