The Path to Drawdown: Plant-based Diet
The meat-centric diet in industrialized countries is responsible for one-fifth of global emissions. Land clearing, fertilizer use, and methane from burping cattle combined take an enormous toll on the environment and the climate.
Shifting 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 as much as 70%. A vegetarian diet could reduce those emissions by 63%. In addition, 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 ingrained in Western cultures, and they will likely be taken up by lower-income countries as they develop. Widespread dietary change will require 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 adopts a plant-rich diet by 2050, it could 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.