by Marion Nestle
Feb 7 2022

Conflicted study of the week: fake meat will save the planet

Larissa Zimberoff, the author of Technically Food (which I blurbed and reviewed), forwarded  this press release from the University of California Berkeley:  Global elimination of meat production could save the planet.  

A new study of the climate impacts of raising animals for food concludes that phasing out all animal agriculture has the potential to substantially alter the trajectory of global warming.  The work is a collaboration between Michael Eisen, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Patrick Brown, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Stanford University and the CEO of Impossible Foods Inc., a company that sells plant-based meat substitutes.

The study: Rapid global phaseout of animal agriculture has the potential to stabilize greenhouse gas levels for 30 years and offset 68 percent of CO2 emissions this centuryMichael B. Eisen, Patrick O. Brown.   PLoS Climate. 2022;1(2). 

Method: The authors modeled the combined, long-term effects of emission reductions and biomass recovery that would be unlocked by a phaseout of animal agriculture.

Findings:  A phaseout of livestock production would provide half of the net emission reductions necessary to limit warming to 2°C

Conclusion: The magnitude and rapidity of these potential effects should place the reduction or elimination of animal agriculture at the forefront of strategies for averting disastrous climate change.

Funding:  There was no formal funding of this work. Michael Eisen is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute which funds all work in his lab. Patrick Brown is CEO of Impossible Foods, Inc.