The Path to Drawdown: Plant-based Diet
The meat-centric Western diet is responsible for about one-fifth of global emissions. Taken altogether, land clearing, fertilizer use, and methane from cattle take an enormous toll on the environment and the climate.
Transitioning to a diet that’s rich in plants is a demand-side solution that reduces emissions and tends to be healthier. If the world adopted a vegan diet, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by up to 70%, and a vegetarian diet could reduce emissions by 63%. Added to that, adopting a plant-based diet could help save $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity.
Global dietary preferences based on meat, fish and dairy products are deeply embedded in Western cultures. Lower-income countries might also want to adopt them as they develop. Bringing about dietary change requires plant-based options that are widely available, visible, and enticing, including high-quality meat substitutes.
Project Drawdown estimates that, if 75% of the global population switches to a plant-rich diet by 2050, this dietary change can reduce GHG emissions by up to 91.72 gigatons: 68.32 gigatons from diverted agricultural production, 23.16 gigatons from avoided land conversion, and 0.24 gigatons from sequestration from ecosystem protection.