Meat and Dairy Is Driving Climate Change, Say UN Experts | Viva! - The Vegan Charity
Meat and Dairy Is Driving Climate Change, Say UN Experts

The UN’s new climate report says switching to a plant-based diet is the most effective way to slow down climate change.

The comprehensive report found that our high consumption of meat and dairy is the major contributor to climate change, as we race towards irreparable environmental disaster.

The report written by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advises people to switch to a plant-based diet of ‘whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables’ to limit environmental damage.

'Global switch to plant-based diets'

Lex Rigby, Viva!’s Campaigns Manager, said: “The new IPCC report is an incredibly important milestone for veganism. This is the most thorough report on the impact of animal agriculture on the climate crisis to date and its conclusion is clear."

“The most effective difference we can make on both an individual and governmental level is to go vegan. We urgently need a global switch to plant-based diets if we are to avert catastrophic environmental disaster. We praise the UN on making such a bold statement and welcome this much-needed report.”

According to the report, 23% of greenhouse gases released between 2006 and 2017 came from raising livestock and cutting down forests to grow crops. Currently, the majority of forests are cleared to grow livestock feed.

Methane released by beef and dairy cows is a major contributor to emissions, and as more forests are cut down to grow their feed, there are less and less trees to absorb excess gasses.

Land use and emissions causing climate change

Despite this, the report written by 107 of the UN’s best environmental scientists has been bashed as ‘misleading’ by UK cow farmers who claim vegetables and meat alternatives can have a larger impact on the environment than UK beef and dairy.

Given that 35% of soy products imported to the UK from South America in 2017 were fed to livestock - livestock who then release harmful methane gases and use vast amounts of land - this is a questionable stance to hold.

Switching to a vegan diet cuts out the need for land-intensive animal farming and will allow the high emissions produced from animal agriculture to fall.

Rigby added: “Now, it is time for governments to follow suit and encourage serious change at every level of society. If we are to halt the climate crisis, each individual must choose vegan.”

For more information on animal agriculture’s impact on the environment, read our full environment report at

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