A letter signed by over 50 scientists urged the world to reach “peak meat” by 2030 to meet climate goals. If the agricultural sector continues to grow past 2030, it is unlikely the world will meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.
The agriculture sector is one of the world’s largest emitters due to the vast quantities of land it takes up and the practices used to grow crops. And, on a global scale, agriculture emissions make up a whopping 24% of the economic sectors.
Thus, if we are serious about curbing emissions, the agricultural sector is one of the core problems.
What Does “Peak Meat” Mean?
The term “Peak Meat” refers to when the agricultural sector has reached a set limit of livestock needed to produce the necessary amount of food.
For example, there would be a set limit on the number of cows needed to keep up with beef demand. The problem with this is that our actual population is continuing to grow.
Thus, to reach “Peak Meat” we need to not only control our livestock populations but also ensure the number will not need to be increased to meet demand.
How Does This Help Solve Climate Change
The main emission that comes from the agricultural sector is methane. This gas is actually more harmful than carbon dioxide and it is tougher to curb.
Of course, you may be wondering how exactly a farm or ranch is producing such a dangerous gas.
Well many livestock animals like cows, sheep, goats and more all produce this gas naturally. To be more specific, every time these animals burp or pass gas, that is a small methane release.
While this should be harmless, in just the United States, there are over 94 million cows in 2019. Thus, the small amount of methane adds up very fast.
On top of this, other activities also produce methane gas, like rice production, one of the world’s most popular crops.
Plant-Based Food Will Become Vital
Clearly, we have a problem. We need to stop expanding our livestock, but as a species, humanity is growing. Luckily, we have a solution: plant-based foods.
For example, Burger King’s Impossible Whopper made a lot of headlines for having an almost identical taste to a real Whopper. And with other companies seeing the popularity of the burger, we could be seeing a major growth from plant-based foods.
Without popularizing plant-based foods, it will make reaching “Peak Meat” an impossible goal.