According to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, current trends in food production will mean that by 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42 per cent and fertiliser use increased by 45 per cent over 2009 levels. This will also lead to further loss of tropical forests.
The study’s authors tested a scenario where all countries were assumed to have an “average” balanced diet – without excessive consumption of sugars, fats, and meat products. The average balanced diet used in the study was a “relatively achievable goal”, the researchers said, which included two 85g portions of red meat and five eggs per week, as well as a portion of poultry a day.
Lead researcher Bojana Bajzelj, from the University of Cambridge’s department of engineering, added: “Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is.” She continued, “Food production is a main driver of biodiversity loss and a large contributor to climate change and pollution, so our food choices matter.”
This is not a call for a radical vegetarian diet but a move towards more balanced consumption to reduce the impact of agriculture on the climate. And a side-effect of that change would be a healthier diet too.