In this file:

 

·         Laugh if you want, but the 'McPlant' burger is a step to a greener world

McDonald’s sells 75 burgers every second. Its embrace of plant-based meat alternatives could make a real difference

 

·         How shifting from meat-heavy to plant-based diets can help allay the climate crisis

A new study shows that moving to a plant-based diet is critical, but governments have been slow to act.

 

 

Laugh if you want, but the 'McPlant' burger is a step to a greener world

McDonald’s sells 75 burgers every second. Its embrace of plant-based meat alternatives could make a real difference

 

Adrienne Matei, Opinion, The Guardian (UK)

Nov 18, 2020

 

When McDonald’s announced its plan to launch a plant-based burger earlier this month, Twitter users were quick to mock the product’s unimaginative name: the … McPlant.

 

But no matter what you think of the fast food chain’s marketing department, the McPlant actually represents a meaningful milestone for plant-based protein products. This is a real step toward a greener world. While other chains, such as Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts, have already launched plant-based meat items, the impact of the planet’s most popular fast food chain – which sells a dizzying 75 burgers every second – could be decisive in allowing plant-based meat alternatives to catch on in the mainstream.

 

Simply put, the more accessible meat alternatives are, the better, given the need for humans to change the ways we consume and produce food to ensure a sustainable future.

 

As of now, the global population is growing towards an estimated 9.7 billion people by 2050, and worldwide meat consumption is on the rise. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock farming accounts for 14.5% of humanity’s annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, but other experts have calculated that the industry’s impact may be even higher.

 

Earlier this month, an academic study found that food production – including the effects of land clearing, deforestation, fertilizer use and livestock – accounts for a third of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. “Even if fossil fuel emissions were immediately halted,” the authors concluded, current trends in global food systems would prevent the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s target to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C compared to pre-industrial figures by the end of the century (which other studies have found we have about a decade left to do). “Meeting the 1.5C target requires rapid and ambitious changes to food systems as well as to all nonfood sectors,” they write.

 

Beef is a particular climate offender, requiring 28 times more land, six times more fertilizer, and 11 times more water to produce than other animal proteins like chicken or pork.

 

Plant-based meat alternatives are a relatively new product category. Most of what we know about their sustainability comes from studies funded by their producers, such as this 2018 research that found that manufacturing pea protein-based Beyond Meat burgers creates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions and requires much less water and land than traditional beef burger patties. (McDonald’s McPlant was developed with Beyond Meat.) This is not to suggest they’re the be-all-end-all of eco-friendly eating: as Oxford researcher Marco Springmann told CNBC, such patties still have fives times the carbon footprint of a bean burger, putting them about on par with chicken. More independent research into their sustainability is needed. Nonetheless, plant-based burgers are certainly greener – and more humane – than industrially farmed beef.

 

Even without committing fully to a plant-based diet, simply choosing to eat less meat in our day-to-day lives can make an appreciable impact on the environment. A study published this August determined that if everyone in the US on average reduced their consumption of beef, pork and poultry by a quarter in favor of plant proteins, the country would emit 82m metric tons fewer greenhouse gases annually.

 

As Fast Company’s Adele Peters points out...

 

more, including links

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/18/laugh-if-you-want-but-the-mcplant-burger-is-a-step-to-a-greener-world

 

 

How shifting from meat-heavy to plant-based diets can help allay the climate crisis

A new study shows that moving to a plant-based diet is critical, but governments have been slow to act.

 

By Lili Pike, Vox 

Nov 17, 2020

 

Many of the massive wildfires that have scorched the Amazon this summer and in recent years can be linked to dinner plates in China and other countries around the world. Cattle ranchers have been using illegal burning to tame the rainforest into pastureland to meet rising global beef demand, a strategy that spells disaster for climate change and biodiversity.

 

These fires are but the latest distress signal from a deeply unsustainable global food system. Emissions are embedded in every part of the food supply chain, from deforestation to grow crops or raise cattle, as in Brazil — which releases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — to rice fields and cow burps, which emit methane, another potent greenhouse gas.

 

A new study published in Science reveals just how important tackling food-related emissions is to mitigating the swiftly accelerating climate crisis. For the first time, the researchers isolated food system emissions and showed that these emissions alone will most likely put the Paris agreement climate targets out of reach.

 

Even if all non-food greenhouse gas emissions were cut off today, the researchers project that food systems emissions would cause us to cross the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise around the middle of the century. That is under their business-as-usual scenario in which food system trends from the past 50 years extend forward.

 

The food system is responsible for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions currently, and these emissions are expected to rise rapidly as people around the world become more affluent and consume more meat and dairy products.

 

Given that dire trend, immediate changes to the way we produce and eat food are essential to stay within the Paris agreement targets, said Michael Clark, a researcher at Oxford University who co-authored the study. “The best time would have been 20 years ago, but the second-best time to start talking about food is now,” he said.

 

The study models five interventions to rapidly cut food emissions. The most effective, according to the authors, is the global adoption of a plant-rich diet. Yet relying on individuals to make a massive behavior change, especially in wealthy countries like the US where per capita meat consumption is far above the global average, is difficult and risky, given the urgency of the climate crisis.

 

Which means policymakers need to get more creative, and ambitious, to help consumers eat less meat and dairy. So far, governments have been slow to embrace dietary change as a climate solution, but they can draw from public health policies that have successfully changed diets to start taking action.

 

The global food system alone could use up all the remaining carbon budget ...

 

Dietary change is fraught, but public health policies can provide guidance ...

 

Beyond meat: Food production needs to change too ... 

 

more, including links, chart 

https://www.vox.com/21562639/climate-change-plant-based-diets-science-meat-dairy