Families that eat out at restaurants and consume large amounts of sweets and alcohol are likely to have a higher carbon footprint than MEAT eaters, study claims
- Experts studied the carbon footprints of around 60,000 Japanese households
- Many families in Japan have gone vegan to reduce their carbon emissions
- However, meat was found less impactful than eating out, sweets and alcohol
- The findings highlight the dietary changes needed to combat climate change
Families that often dine out and consume large quantities of sweets and alcohol are likely to have a higher carbon footprint than meat eaters, a study claims.
Researchers came to this conclusion after studying the food habits and carbon footprints of around 60,000 households across Japan.
They found that meat consumption typically only accounts for only 10 per cent of the different in environmental impact between low and high carbon households.
In contrast, households with high carbon footprints typically consumed around two to three times more sweets and alcohol than those with low footprints
Based on their findings, the team are now advising people to cut down their intake of these products to help save the planet.
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Families in Japan that often dine out and consume large quantities of sweets and alcohol are likely to have a higher carbon footprint than meat eaters, a study claims
Economist Keiichiro Kanemoto of Japan’s Research Institute for Humanity and Nature and colleagues surveyed the food supply chain and consumption habits of around 60,000 households from across Japan’s 47 prefectures.
The researchers found that the levels of meat consumption were largely constant from household-to-households, but their carbon footprints varied considerably — with other foodstuffs appearing more responsible.
Eating out, for example, was found to contribute 175 per cent more carbon emissions for the average household than eating meats.
In fact, dining in restaurants was seen to contribute an annual average of 770 kilograms (121 stone) of greenhouse gases towards the environmental impact of those households with a high carbon footprint.
In contrast, meat consumption cost just 280 kilograms (44 stone).
In Japan, many households have turned vegan after learning that beef production emits 20 times the emissions per gram of protein as growing beans.
Professor Kanemoto and colleagues, however, have said that a one-size-fits-all policy is ill-advised.
‘If we think of a carbon tax, it might be wiser to target sweets and alcohol if we want a progressive system,’ said Professor Kanemoto.
‘Our findings suggest that high carbon footprints are not only a problem for a small number of meat lovers in Japan.’
Experts studied the food habits and carbon footprints of around 60,000 households across Japan. Pictured, different households’ dietary choices lead to different carbon footprints
The researchers found that meat consumption typically only accounts for only 10 per cent of the different in environmental impact between low and high carbon households
‘If we are serious about reducing our carbon footprints, then our diets must change.
‘It might be better to target less nutritious foods that are excessively consumed in some populations.’
The researchers, however, still advocate that people eat less meat in order to reduce their households’ environmental impacts.
‘Meat is a high carbon footprint food. Replacing red meat consumption with white meat and vegetables will lower a family’s carbon footprint,’ said Professor Kanemoto.
‘If we think of a carbon tax, it might be wiser to target sweets and alcohol if we want a progressive system,’ said Professor Kanemoto
‘This evidence from Japan demonstrates that research can help us to identify what to focus on. The same patterns of dietary change in terms of sugar, alcohol and dining out need to be considered in the UK, Australia, the US and Europe,’ said Dr Christian Reynolds
‘Due to wealth, culture, and farming practices, different regions in a country consume food differently,’ added paper author and University of Sheffield geographer Christian Reynolds.
‘Japan alone has some prefectures with more than 10 million people and others with fewer than one million,’ he noted, adding that similar regional and income differences in food consumption are found in other countries as well.
‘All countries are facing challenges in how to shift diets to be healthier and more sustainable.’
‘This evidence from Japan demonstrates that research can help us to identify what to focus on. The same patterns of dietary change in terms of sugar, alcohol and dining out need to be considered in the UK, Australia, the US and Europe.’
The full findings of the study were published in the journal One Earth.
HOW DO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES BALANCE RESOURCES WITH LIVING A ‘GOOD LIFE’?
No country on Earth currently meets its citizens’ needs at a sustainable level of resource use, a new study led by University of Leeds researchers has found.
To conduct the study, the researchers analysed how the 150 countries fared with respect to 11 social indicators and seven environmental indicators used for measuring the achievement of basic needs within planetary boundaries.
The study mapped each country’s resource use against planetary boundaries that, if persistently exceeded, could lead to catastrophic change.
The mapping showed no country performed well on both the planetary and social thresholds because, in general, as a country achieves more social goals, it more likely exceeds planetary boundaries.
Out of roughly 150 countries studied, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands provide their citizens with all 11 items on the list.
Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Japan and Sweden provide 10 out of 11 and the United States and Canada provide nine.
But none can do so sustainably, and all meet only a few of seven environmental requirements.
The US meets none.
The country with the best balance is Vietnam, the researchers claim.
VIetnam meets six of its 11 social goals, but it meets all but one sustainability goal
Thirty five countries out of the 150 only meet one or none of the 11 necessities for a good life.
Each country’s resource use and well-being achievements are available as a website built by the academics involved in the study, allowing users to compare and contrast each country’s resource use.
The mapping showed no country performed well on both the planetary and social thresholds because, in general, as a country achieves more social goals, it more likely exceeds planetary boundaries. Pictured left are Sweden’s social and environmental indicator levels, compared to those of Tanzania, right
The seven environmental indicators were:
- CO2 emissions: How much carbon dioxide is emitted via the burning of fossil fuels.
- Phosphorus: Used as an industrial and commercial raw material.
- Nitrogen: Resource and byproduct of fuel combustion.
- Blue Water use: Fresh surface and groundwater, in other words, the water in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers.
- eHANPP: eHANPP (embodied human appropriation of net primary production) measures the amount of biomass harvested through agriculture and forestry, as well as biomass that is killed during harvest but not used, and biomass that is lost due to land use change.
- Ecological Footprint: Measure of how much nature we have and how much nature we use. It measures the demand on and supply of nature.
- Material Footprint: Material footprint (MF) is the attribution of global material extraction to domestic final demand of a country.
The 11 social performance indicators and their thresholds were:
- Employment: 94% employed (6% unemployment).
- Equality: 70 on 0–100 scale (GINI index of 0.30).
- Democratic Quality: 0.80 (approximate US/UK value)
- Social support: 90% of people have friends or family they can depend on.
- Education: 95% enrollment in secondary school.
- Access to Energy: 95% of people have electricity access.
- Income: 95% of people earn above $1.90 a day.
- Sanitation: 95% of people have access to improved sanitation facilities.
- Nutrition: 2,700 calories per person per day.
- Healthy Life Expectancy: 65 years.
- Life satisfaction: 6.5 on the 0-10 Cantril ladder scale.
The researchers distributed seven planetary boundaries among nations according to their share of global population, and then compared these boundaries to national resource consumption. The study also scored countries on 11 social objectives. Pictured left are the UK’s social and environmental indicator levels, compared to those of India, right
Source: Thanks https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7814169/Dining-buying-lots-sweets-alcohol-gives-higher-carbon-footprints-MEAT-eating.html