New study details climate and freshwater impacts of nine plant-forward diets in 140 countries
Achieving an adequate, healthy diet in most low- and middle-income countries will require a substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions and water use due to food production, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The paper was published online September 16 in the journal Global Environmental Change.
Obesity, undernutrition, and climate change are major global challenges that impact the world’s population. While these problems may appear to be unrelated, they share food production and consumption as key underlying drivers. By recognizing the role of food production in climate change, this study examines the challenges of simultaneously addressing hunger and the climate crisis at both the individual and country levels.
For their analysis, the researchers developed a model that assessed how alterations to dietary patterns across 140 countries would impact individual- and country-level greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater use. They used this model to assess the per capita and whole country climate and water footprints of nine plant-forward diets. The plant-forward diets examined ranged from no red meat, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, and vegan, among others.