Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for meat alternatives
On a global scale, food production produces an estimated 17.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas each year, equivalent to more than double all GHG emitted by the United States across all industries, en masse. A 2021 study published in Nature found that the production of conventional meat results in twice as much GHG released as the production of plant-based foods. Of course, the plant-based industry is much smaller than the conventional meat industry, and plant-based farming isn't entirely harmless, as it still requires the use of gas-emitting farming machinery and nationwide distribution. That said, the crops alone don't release harmful gases into the air; the primary culprit, aside from the industrial implications of production, are the animals themselves. Fewer animals consumed would mean fewer animals required for the food chain. A 2019 study suggested that if every American were to reduce their meat consumption by just 25%, global GHG emissions would drop by 1%. When you consider that global carbon dioxide emissions alone were more than 30 billion metric tons in 2020, and CO2 is but one form of GHG, the implications of wider adoption of plant-based alternatives could have sizable impacts on global environmental health and sustainability.