Cut meat consumption to two burgers a week to save the planet, study finds | Climate crisis

Meat consumption would have to be reduced to the equivalent of about two hamburgers a week in the developed world, and public transport expanded about six times faster than its current rate, if the world is to avoid the worst ravages of the climate crisis, according to research.

Deforestation rate also needs to be scaled down quickly, and the coal phase-out needs to happen about six times faster than what is currently being managed. Heavy industries such as cement and steel are not moving fast enough in reducing their emissions, and the rapid growth in the adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles must be maintained.

The 2022 State of Climate Action Report reviewed global progress on 40 indicators that would be key to halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in line with the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

The researchers found a bleak picture, with just over half of the indicators off track and five heading in the wrong direction.

The most worrying indicators were the use of gas, which is increasing rapidly at a time when it should be reduced in favor of renewables; the steel industry, where emission reduction technology is not being adopted quickly enough; journeys made in private cars; the rate of loss of mangrove forests; and emissions from agriculture.

Ani Dasgupta, the director general of the World Resources Institute, one of the organizations responsible for the report, pointed to the extreme weather conditions seen around the world This year.

“The world has seen the devastation wrought by just 1.1°C of warming. Every fraction of a degree counts in the fight to protect people and the planet. We are seeing significant progress in the fight against climate change, but we are still not winning in any sector,” he said.

Bill Hare, managing director of Climate Analytics, which also helped produce the report, warned of the growing use of gas for power generation around the world.

“Particularly worrying is the increase in fossil gas power generation despite the availability of cheaper and healthier alternatives,” he said. “The current crisis resulting from shocks like the pandemic and The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown very clearly how the continued dependence on fossil fuels is not only bad for the climate, but also entails serious security and economic risks.”

The report from the Systems Change Lab, a coalition of analyst organizations and charitable foundations, identified some bright spots. Solar power generation increased by nearly half between 2019 and 2021, while electric vehicles accounted for nearly one in 10 passenger cars sold in 2021, double the previous year.

The analysis concluded that much greater investment was needed to shift the global economy to a low-carbon economy: around $460 billion per year over the next decade in additional funds would be needed, and governments must also end their favorable treatment of fossil fuels.

The authors called for financial institutions to stop underwriting fossil fuel production and carbon-intensive industries. The findings of the report will be presented to governments at the COP27 UN Climate Summitwhich begins in Egypt next month.

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