The relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices

The relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions embodied in 61 different categories of food are used, with information on the diet of different groups of the population (omnivorous, vegetarian and vegan), to calculate the embodied GHG emissions in different dietary scenarios. We calculate that the embodied GHG content of the current UK food supply is 7.4 kg CO 2 e person −1 day −1 , or 2.7 t CO 2 e person −1 y −1 . This gives total food-related GHG emissions of 167 Mt CO 2 e (1 Mt=10 6 metric tonnes; CO 2 e being the mass of CO 2 that would have the same global warming potential, when measured over 100 years, as a given mixture of greenhouse gases) for the entire UK population in 2009. This is 27% of total direct GHG emissions in the UK, or 19% of total GHG emissions from the UK, including those embodied in goods produced abroad. We calculate that potential GHG savings of 22% and 26% can be made by changing from the current UK-average diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet, respectively. Taking the average GHG saving from six vegetarian or vegan dietary scenarios compared with the current UK-average diet gives a potential national GHG saving of 40 Mt CO 2 e y −1 . This is equivalent to a 50% reduction in current exhaust pipe emissions from the entire UK passenger car fleet. Hence realistic choices about diet can make substantial differences to embodied GHG emissions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Energy Policy Elsevier

The relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0301-4215
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.enpol.2011.12.054
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions embodied in 61 different categories of food are used, with information on the diet of different groups of the population (omnivorous, vegetarian and vegan), to calculate the embodied GHG emissions in different dietary scenarios. We calculate that the embodied GHG content of the current UK food supply is 7.4 kg CO 2 e person −1 day −1 , or 2.7 t CO 2 e person −1 y −1 . This gives total food-related GHG emissions of 167 Mt CO 2 e (1 Mt=10 6 metric tonnes; CO 2 e being the mass of CO 2 that would have the same global warming potential, when measured over 100 years, as a given mixture of greenhouse gases) for the entire UK population in 2009. This is 27% of total direct GHG emissions in the UK, or 19% of total GHG emissions from the UK, including those embodied in goods produced abroad. We calculate that potential GHG savings of 22% and 26% can be made by changing from the current UK-average diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet, respectively. Taking the average GHG saving from six vegetarian or vegan dietary scenarios compared with the current UK-average diet gives a potential national GHG saving of 40 Mt CO 2 e y −1 . This is equivalent to a 50% reduction in current exhaust pipe emissions from the entire UK passenger car fleet. Hence realistic choices about diet can make substantial differences to embodied GHG emissions.

Journal

Energy PolicyElsevier

Published: Apr 1, 2012

References

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