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UN Warns - Eat Less Meat to Curb Climate Change

#8th October 2008

People should eat less meat to help combat the effects of climate change, the world's leading expert on global warming has claimed.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said people should aim for one meat-free day a week, before scaling down their consumption even further.

Dr Pachauri, whose panel won a Nobel Peace Prize last year, said: "Give up meat for one day a week initially, and decrease it from there.

"In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity."

The UN estimates that meat production is responsible for almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cows, in particular, emit methane which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide.

While the process of producing animal feeds is also harmful to the environment. Dr Pachauri, a vegetarian, said people needed to look at every aspect of the their lives in terms of its environmental impact.

He said: "We really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy."

On Monday, he will address an event hosted by animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming, which has calculated that if the average UK household halved meat consumption that would cut emissions more than if car use was cut in half.

While Dr Pachauri's comments are likely to be met with opposition by many in the food and restaurant industry, Masterchef presenter and restaurateur John Torode offered his support.