Meat consumption in the developed world needs to be cut down by 50 percent per person to avoid catastrophic climate changes in the future, warns a study.
Developed countries need to cut on meat and fertiliser use by 50 percent by 2050, to reduce one of the most important greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide, according to the researchers from the Woods Hold Research Center in Massachusetts.
Largest consumers of meat are developed countries, where meat is an essential part of the diet compared to the developing countries.
"I think there are huge challenges in convincing people in the west to reduce portion sizes or the frequency of eating meat. That is part of our culture right now," the Guardian quoted Eric Davidson, director of the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, as saying.
Researchers believe that average meat consumption of each person in the developed world will rise to 89 kg per year in 2030 compared to the per person consumption of 78 kg in 2002. In developing countries, it would be 37 kg per year for each person from the 28 kg per year in 2002.
As the global population is expected to reach 8.9 billion by 2050, the daily calorific intake per capita will also increase to 3130 kcal per year.
"If you had asked me 30 years ago if smoking would be banned in bars, I would have laughed and said that would be impossible in my lifetime, and yet it has come true. Similarly, there would be beneficial health benefits for most Americans and western Europeans to stop 'supersizing' and rather to reduce portion sizes of red meat," said Davidson.
In order to reduce emissions, it will also be necessary to apply certain changes to the food production process.
Nitrogen oxide is one of the chemical compounds that contribute to global warming. The nitrogen contained in fertilizers and manure is broken down by microbes that live in the soil and released into the atmosphere as N2O.
Nitrogen oxide poses a greater threat to the environment because it is the fourth largest contributor to these greenhouse gases.