Plant-based diets are one of the three changes the UK must make in order to tackle climate change according to a new report prepared for the Committee on Climate Change.
As Animal Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion protests continue, the paper by Imperial College London academic Dr Richard Carmichael states that along with lowering emissions from transport and heating, swapping to a vegan diet will help fight climate change.
The ‘Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero’ report states that moving towards vegan diets is a ‘huge opportunity for consumers to reduce their carbon footprints and enjoy important health benefits for no additional cost.’
The paper calls on the government to make a new regulation that would require all public sector menus to offer a vegan option that is available every day without having to request it. The report found that switching to plant-based diets would reduce diet-related emissions by 73% and would require 70-80% less farmland.
There would be 25-40% less greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the EU if the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs were halved.
The Vegan Society campaigns manager Mark Banahan said: “Dr Carmichael’s detailed report makes a crucial recommendation to include vegan meal options as standard on public sector menus. Provisions for vegans in this sector is currently lacking, with hospital patients and school children often going hungry, and our proposed legislation would assist in solving this problem. We hope that vegans and non-vegans alike will join us in urging institutions to provide healthy and sustainable vegan food for everyone.”
Carmichael said: “The science and the targets for Net Zero are clear and most people are willing to do their bit. This report suggests some practical ways in which barriers can be lowered and people enabled and encouraged to substantially reduce their contribution to global warming. Providing vegan options would not only cater to those already willing but unable to access plant-based meals but would allow others to try these foods and help to normalise low-impact diets.
“I hope we see some swift action from Government to start building up some momentum in new policy and public engagement, as time is running out.”