A research team from the University of Oxford led by Peter Scarborough, in a study published in Nature Food, analyzed the real diets of over 55,000 British citizens and cross-referenced these data with those deriving from 570 assessments of emissions throughout the life cycle of 38,000 farms in 119 countries around the world.
According to the study, vegans have 75% less impact on the climate than meat eaters. Also according to the study, the provenance and quality of meat and food in general matters very little in terms of its impact on the climate.
The data would speak clearly. The vegan climate impact is 25.1% for both greenhouse gas emissions and land use, 46.4% for water consumption, 27% for eutrophication and 34.3% for the impact on biodiversity. The study explained eating less meat greatly decreases the weight of our influence on the climate and ecosystems.
For any of the indicators considered, the footprint of those who choose to eat less meat is at least 30% lower.
Effect of meat consumption on the greenhouse effect
According to Rajendra Pachauri, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, people should go at least one day a week without meat, if they really want to contribute an effective personal sacrifice to fight climate change, and then further reduce meat consumption.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector contribute about 22% of total emissions, i.e. as much as industry and more than transport. Of this quota, 80% is due to the breeding and transport of animals for slaughter, ie the consumption of meat alone would be responsible for over 1/6 of the greenhouse effect.
This is because methane and nitrogen peroxide, associated with animal production, contribute much more to warming than carbon dioxide. Farming requires the use of water resources. Part of the water required by the modern zootechnical system is used to water the animals: a steer can consume up to over 80 liters of water a day, a pig over 20 liters and a sheep around 10 litres, and a dairy cow, during the summer season, can consume up to 200 liters of water in a single day.