Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said this weekend that eating less meat may be the best way for people to reduce their personal carbon emissions. “In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,” he said. Pachauri advised the world’s omnivores to “give up meat for one day [per week] initially, and decrease it from there.” In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization analyzed the livestock industry’s contribution to climate change and found that its total impact worldwide (including deforestation, grazing, and the methane-intensive burps and farts of livestock) contributed more to global warming than the entire transport sector. “I’m not in favor of mandating things like this, but if there were a [global] price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less [of it],” Pachauri said.
Get Grist in your inbox