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Article

Lifetime Climate Impacts of Diet Transitions: A Novel Climate Change Accounting Perspective

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Ministry for Primary Industries, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
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New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
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Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
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School of Geography, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
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Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK
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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Carolan
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105568
Received: 16 April 2021 / Revised: 6 May 2021 / Accepted: 7 May 2021 / Published: 17 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
Dietary transitions, such as eliminating meat consumption, have been proposed as one way to reduce the climate impact of the global and regional food systems. However, it should be ensured that replacement diets are, indeed, nutritious and that climate benefits are accurately accounted for. This study uses New Zealand food consumption as a case study for exploring the cumulative climate impact of adopting the national dietary guidelines and the substitution of meat from hypothetical diets. The new GWP* metric is used as it was designed to better reflect the climate impacts of the release of methane than the de facto standard 100-year Global Warming Potential metric (GWP100). A transition at age 25 to the hypothetical dietary guideline diet reduces cumulative warming associated with diet by 7 to 9% at the 100th year compared with consuming the average New Zealand diet. The reduction in diet-related cumulative warming from the transition to a hypothetical meat-substituted diet varied between 12% and 15%. This is equivalent to reducing an average individual’s lifetime warming contribution by 2 to 4%. General improvements are achieved for nutrient intakes by adopting the dietary guidelines compared with the average New Zealand diet; however, the substitution of meat items results in characteristic nutrient differences, and these differences must be considered alongside changes in emission profiles. View Full-Text
Keywords: dietary change; greenhouse gas emissions; climate change; GWP*; New Zealand dietary change; greenhouse gas emissions; climate change; GWP*; New Zealand
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MDPI and ACS Style

Barnsley, J.E.; Chandrakumar, C.; Gonzalez-Fischer, C.; Eme, P.E.; Bourke, B.E.P.; Smith, N.W.; Dave, L.A.; McNabb, W.C.; Clark, H.; Frame, D.J.; Lynch, J.; Roche, J.R. Lifetime Climate Impacts of Diet Transitions: A Novel Climate Change Accounting Perspective. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5568. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105568

AMA Style

Barnsley JE, Chandrakumar C, Gonzalez-Fischer C, Eme PE, Bourke BEP, Smith NW, Dave LA, McNabb WC, Clark H, Frame DJ, Lynch J, Roche JR. Lifetime Climate Impacts of Diet Transitions: A Novel Climate Change Accounting Perspective. Sustainability. 2021; 13(10):5568. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105568

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barnsley, Jonathan E., Chanjief Chandrakumar, Carlos Gonzalez-Fischer, Paul E. Eme, Bridget E.P. Bourke, Nick W. Smith, Lakshmi A. Dave, Warren C. McNabb, Harry Clark, David J. Frame, John Lynch, and John R. Roche 2021. "Lifetime Climate Impacts of Diet Transitions: A Novel Climate Change Accounting Perspective" Sustainability 13, no. 10: 5568. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105568

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