Climatarian: The new way to cut carbon emissions from your diet

Climate change is not normally on people's minds when they choose what to have for lunch, but a new diet is calling for people to go 'Climatarian' for their health and for the planet.

Climates – a new environmental social networking site – claims that switching to a its climate-focused diet can save up to a tonne of CO2 per year for each person, and it doesn’t even involve giving up meat.

The social network says cutting back on beef and lamb can have a dramatic effect on your food’s carbon footprint. The Climatarian diet also recommends avoiding using air freighted food and frozen produce, instead only purchasing local, seasonal and fresh produce.

“Beef and lamb have about five times more climate impact than pork poultry,” said Climates founder Biba Hartigan. “Food overall causes up to 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions so this simple change can have a big impact – and cutting down on red meat is good for your health too.”

Polluting protein

According to Climates, 1kg of boned beef meat waste is equivalent to wasting 24kg of wheat in terms of its impact on the climate. Ruminant meats, such as beef, lamb, goat and venison, offer some of the most significant climate impacts.

A dedicated website includes a shopping guide with specific eco-friendly recipes including chicken and sweet pepper lasagne, spicy pork cottage pie and climate-friendly bolognese.

Out of 90 different food types, beef and mutton stand out as the most polluting in terms of CO2 emissions, according to figures from Oxford University. Beef and mutton produced between 60kg and 70kg of CO2 per kilogram compared to most other food types, which produced less than 10kg CO2 per kilogram on average.

Friends of the Earth has previously said intensive meat production is devouring land and raw materials as well as draining water resources.

Researchers have also been trying to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of the food we eat. Scientists at Rothamsted Research recently set up a research farm to assess the environmental impact of beef and find ways to reduce its carbon footprint through alternative feeding methods.

Video: Climates social network

Matt Field

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