Go veggie to fight global warming, says expert

A A A

One of the world's leading climate change gurus urged people to become vegetarian today, to help beat global warming.

Nicholas Stern, the author of an influential 2006 review of climate change, said methane emissions from cows and pigs were putting "enormous pressure" on the world and people needed to think about what they ate.

He told The Times: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It put enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better."

The former World Bank chief economist was speaking ahead of the climate change conference in Copenhagen this December, which is expected to be attended by thousands of delegates from around the world.

Lord Stern said a successful conference would result in higher costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

He also compared his stance on meat to the change in attitudes to drink-driving.

"I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating," the London School of Economics professor said.

"I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student.

"People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food."

Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and it has been estimated that livestock accounts for a fifth of the global warming impact.

In his interview with The Times, Lord Stern said if business continued as usual then temperatures could increase by 5C by early next century.

"These kinds of changes will have huge consequences - southern Europe is likely to be a desert; hundreds of millions of people will have to move. There will be severe global conflict."

His 2006 review warned that if the world did not act on global warming, the cost would be at least 5 per cent of GDP "now and forever".

"Climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response," he said.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy