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Members of wholeSEM's Cambridge team discuss the importance of managing food demand to tackle climate change

2 September 2014

Copyright David B Gleeson available on Flickr

wholeSEM's Co-Investigators Dr Julian Allwood and Professor Keith Richards have published a new study with colleagues at the University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen looking at the impacts of global diets and climate change.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate. The team analysed evidence such as land use, land suitability and agricultural biomass data to create a robust model that compares different scenarios for 2050, including scenarios based on maintaining current trends.

The authors urge that a shift towards a more balanced diet and less food waste would significantly reduce the pressure on the environment. Professor Keith Richards quotes “Managing the demand better, for example by focusing on health education, would bring double benefits – maintaining healthy populations, and greatly reducing critical pressures on the environment.”.

As part of the wholeSEM project, our Cambridge team will use the ForeseerTM Tool to predict the major physical and economic interactions between the UK energy system and the environment over the next 40 years.

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