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Ditching meat could release vital land to produce energy and remove carbon from the atmosphere

A radical reduction in the amount of meat, dairy and other products sourced from animals is possible in the coming decades, as people turn to an increasing variety of alternatives. This would unlock vast amounts of land that we could use to produce energy and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Leiden environmental scientists Laure Scherer and Oscar Rueda write about this on science platform The Conversation.

Scherer and Rueda recently published a research that considered what might happen if demand for animal products really did decrease and the newly released agricultural land was instead used to grow crops for renewable energy and carbon removal. Scherer: 'In short, we found the potential benefits are huge.'

Freeing land and water

Switching to plant-based alternatives would free up huge amounts of land and water, since there would be less need for fields full of cows, chickens or pigs, or for crops grown to feed them. In their research, Scherer and Rueda estimated that fully replacing animal-sourced products would release more than 60% of the world’s agricultural land. Other researchers think as much as 75% might be released. But also a more modest reduction in meat consumption would free up extensive agricultural areas.

What to do with that freed-up land and water?

What would we do with all that land? Simply leaving it alone might be the most sensible solution in many cases. This way, the land can gradually return to its natural state, storing carbon, regulating the climate and providing habitat for wild animals. But there are also other options...

Read the whole article on The Conversation: Ditching meat could release vital land to produce energy and remove carbon from the atmosphere – new study

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