Fossil fuels are the real problem and should be our focus

Fossil fuels are a big problem for the environment and a key driver of climate change. And so is animal agriculture. We must tackle both if we are to keep global temperature rise below catastrophic levels.

Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore has calculated the effect that each of us going vegan can have on the planet. About 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture but the impact of our diet on the climate does not end there. Poore says: ‘One of the interesting things that people don’t often talk about is that if you change your diet, you don’t just reduce that 15 percent to effectively zero, you also free up significant amounts of land. That land can store carbon. Add that 15 percent to the carbon storage benefit and it’s more like your personal greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by about 30 to 50 percent. Far bigger than most people think.1 And that is just by switching to a plant-based diet.

Yes, we each need to cut down on the use of our cars and on air travel but the one thing we can do each and every day to have a huge impact is to change our diets. And the great news is that doing one does not prevent us from doing the other! We can – and should – reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and go vegan.

Besides, eating vegan has a wider positive impact on the planet than just climate change. It will reduce our impact on global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.2 It can reduce deforestation, which in turn will benefit wildlife.3

No wonder Poore says that going vegan is the single biggest thing we can do to help the environment.4

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