A new report released by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization for wildlife and endangered species, concluded food choices are a central factor in global warming. The report stated a plant-based diet will significantly lower one’s carbon footprint.

WWF made its conclusions after studying four of Britain’s most iconic dishes: chicken tikka masala, fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch, and cawl – Wales’ famous lamb stew. The organization analysed how the ingredients needed for each meal are produced as well as the respective carbon footprints of each dish. Further, WWF compared the ‘carbon budget’ of each studied meal with the 2030 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Staggeringly, WWF found that just one meal of chicken tikka masala is equivalent to boiling a kettle 89 times. Similarly, a lamb stew produces the equivalent of 722 full smartphone charges.

The report noted these classic UK dishes as problematic and created an easy-to-follow, six-part guide to help consumers lower their carbon footprint.

The guide, along with the report, emphasized a vegan diet as being optimal for lower carbon footprints while a diet rich in animal products had the opposite effect. WWF also advised consumers to eat fewer foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar, and suggested that the public opt for certifications such as fair trade or MSC.

“The current median trajectory for climate change is a 3.2 degree rise by 2100, which would be devastating for many ecosystems and vulnerable human populations. The ‘COP 21’ Paris Climate Change Agreement aims to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions to a level that limits the global average temperature rise to well below two degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational goal of 1.5 degrees,” the report stated.

“Globally, 20% of direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from food and agriculture, so clearly diets have a critical role in supporting the international mission to minimise anthropogenic emissions and limit the most severe effects of climate change.”

Last year, another report by WWF suggested a vegan diet could save animals from extinction.


Image Credit: World Wildlife Fund

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