There is an impending perfect storm of pressure on our food production system, with increasing population and changing consumer tastes, in the face of rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Tim Gore, head of food policy and climate change for Oxfam, said “The main way that most people will experience climate change is through the impact on food: the food they eat, the price they pay for it, and the availability and choice that they have.”. Yet, at the same time, food production causes about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and this is rising as the population increases and becomes more affluent. If we stopped burning fossil fuels, food would be the biggest contributor to climate change.
I have been studying dark matter and dark energy for the last 20 years, but when my kids started school I started to think about our own planet in the next 20 years and beyond. I learned about climate change properly for the first time, how it threatens worldwide food production, and how food causes about a quarter of all global warming. I wanted to know how much each of my food choices was contributing, and why. I delved into the academic research literature, and summarized the results in simple charts. The charts make it easy for the non-specialist to see the impacts of different meal options, and show that some easy food switches can reduce food greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent. Most of us make many food choices every day, and by changing these we can significantly reduce climate change caused by food, and free up land that can be used to help reduce climate change overall.
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