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IREES colloquium: Reducing climate change impacts and inequality of the global food system through diet shifts|Yanxian li, PhD student at IREES

When:Tu 26-03-2024 15:00 - 16:00
Where:5159.0291; Energy Academy

Speaker | Yanxian li, PhD student at IREES

Title | Reducing climate change impacts and inequality of the global food system through diet shifts

Summary | How much and what we eat and where it is produced can create huge differences in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The food system is responsible for about one-third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions, and climate goals become unattainable without efforts to reduce food-related emissions.

Bridging diets with detailed household-expenditure data, this study estimates dietary emissions from 13 food categories consumed by 201 expenditure groups in 139 countries, covering 95% of the global population, and further models the emission mitigation potential of global diet shifts.

We find that groups with higher expenditures generally create larger dietary emissions due to excessive red meat and dairy intake. Emission differences within countries are smaller in wealthier countries. Global annual dietary emissions would fall by 17% if all countries adopted the EAT–Lancet planetary health diet, primarily attributed to a decrease in red meat and grains, despite a substantial increase in emissions related to increased consumption of plant-based protein such as legumes and nuts. Wealthy populations, especially in developed and rapidly developing countries, would save emissions through diet shifts, balancing increased emissions from the bottom and lower-middle expenditure populations (43% of the global population) for eating healthier diets. Our findings highlight opportunities and challenges to alleviate climate change and inequality in the food system through dietary transitions