Turn veggie to save planet, says Sir Paul

Ex-Beatle claims eating less meat is 'single most effective way' to cut emissions

Sir Paul McCartney has teamed up with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist to urge people to become vegetarian to save the planet from the greenhouse gases created by rearing livestock.

In a letter to The Independent, the musician joins Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to blame worsening global warming on a rise in the number of people who eat meat.

The musician and Mr Pachauri, who are both vegetarians, also believe that global food shortages are exacerbated by the planting of cereal crops for animal fodder. A mass switch to a more vegetarian diet will, they say, help the poorest people in the world.

Becoming vegetarian, or at the very least eating less red meat, is "the single most effective act" anyone can take to lessen greenhouse gas emissions. As well as producing the greenhouse gas methane, the livestock business uses up increasingly scarce sources of fresh water and increases other forms of pollution through its need for agricultural chemicals, they argue.

"Unfortunately, with higher incomes, societies, even in developing countries, are turning to greater ... consumption of animal protein, which reduces the availability of food grains for direct consumption by impoverished human beings," they say. "Already 60 per cent of food crop production in North America and western Europe is being diverted for production of meat." Sir Paul and Mr Pachauri also suggest that people switch off lights, turn down their central heating, buy compact fluorescent lamps and use bicycles.

Dr Pachauri, who accepted a half-share in this year's Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, has long advocated vegetarianism as a way of fighting climate change. He has been a vegetarian for eight years, while Sir Paul stopped eating meat about 30 years ago largely because of his concerns about the welfare of farm animals.

"With growing awareness of ... the need to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases, citizens across the world often ask what it is that they can do to mitigate emissions," they say in their letter. "There are several reasons for a shift to a much lower input of meat in human diets if not complete vegetarianism ... We are writing this letter not because vegetarianism is a fad or an emotional issue but because it is a very attractive option for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and stabilising the Earth's climate and ensuring global food security."

They cite a 2006 report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation which stated that livestock are one of the most significant contributors to climate change because 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing and livestock now use 30 per cent of the world's land surface.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain