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26 Oct, 2022 16:24

Research suggests how many burgers are safe for climate

Limiting meat consumption could help keep 2030 global warming targets “within reach,” the State of Climate Action report said
Research suggests how many burgers are safe for climate

Eating no more than the equivalent of two burgers per week will contribute to the fight against climate change, new research conducted by several high-profile climate organizations and published on Wednesday has found.

The State of Climate Action 2022 report assesses global progress on 40 indicators which are believed to be particularly important for keeping the Paris Agreement’s 2030 climate targets “within reach.” One of the factors is formulated as “Reduce daily per capita ruminant meat consumption to 79 kilocalories across high-consuming regions.” 

According to the paper, “shifting to healthier, more sustainable diets” must accelerate five-fold, with meat consumption reducing “to roughly two burgers per week across the Americas, Europe, and Oceania.”

Animal agriculture is widely believed to contribute to global warming because of the emissions of livestock, destruction of habitats, and greenhouse gas generation. 

The 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by almost 200 countries, requires the countries to halve their emissions by 2030 in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C and thus reduce the effects of climate change.

The report noted that between 2015 and 2019, the consumption of beef, lamb, and goat meat across “high-consuming regions” had reduced by 1.5%, reaching 91 kilocalories per capita per day in 2019. However, the speed of decline is far too slow to hit the 2030 target, the paper says. 

To avoid the “increasingly dangerous, and in some cases, irreversible climate impacts,” the process of phasing out coal, according to the report, should also accelerate six-fold, while decreases in annual deforestation rates should occur 2.5 times faster, and expanding public transportation should be six times quicker.

Investments in global climate financing “need to grow over 10 times faster,” the report said, by approximately $460 billion every year this decade.

Among the encouraging signs, the report listed the rise in use of zero-carbon power sources and the speedy transition to electric vehicles.

According to Andrew Steer, the head of Bezos Earth Fund, which took part in research along with the World Resources Institute and Climate Action Tracker, the report should evoke two emotions:

“First, a sense of shame and anger that we are failing to live up to our commitments to act. Second, a sense of hope and possibility that real change is within grasp and can lead to a healthier economy, healthier citizens, and a healthier society.”

The authors of the report believe that it will be “an invaluable handbook” for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in November in Egypt, as well as for governments, civil society, and companies.