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Article

Diets within Environmental Limits: The Climate Impact of Current and Recommended Australian Diets

1
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Agriculture and Food, Clayton, Victoria 3169, Australia
2
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
3
CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, Adelaide 5000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Luz Fernandez
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041122
Received: 1 February 2021 / Revised: 24 March 2021 / Accepted: 25 March 2021 / Published: 29 March 2021
Planetary boundaries are an important sustainability concept, defining absolute limits for resource use and emissions that need to be respected to avoid major and potentially irreversible earth system change. To remain within the safe operating space for humanity, there is a need for urgent adoption of climate-neutral diets, which make no additional contribution to warming. In the first study of its kind, a new climate metric, the Global Warming Potential Star (GWP*), was used to assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with 9341 Australian adult diets obtained from the Australian Health Survey. Dietary climate footprints averaged 3.4 kg CO2-equivelent per person per day, with total energy intake explaining around one quarter of the variation. Energy-dense and nutrient-poor discretionary foods contributed around one third. With lower climate footprint food choices, a diet consistent with current Australian dietary guidelines had a 42% lower climate footprint. Currently, it is not possible to define a climate-neutral dietary strategy in Australia because there are very few climate-neutral foods in the Australian food system. To bring Australian diets into line with the climate stabilization goals of the Paris Agreement, the most important need is for innovation across the agricultural and food processing industries to expand the range of climate-neutral foods available. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; dietary guidelines; diet quality; discretionary food; greenhouse gas emissions; GWP*; life cycle assessment; planetary boundaries; sustainable diet climate change; dietary guidelines; diet quality; discretionary food; greenhouse gas emissions; GWP*; life cycle assessment; planetary boundaries; sustainable diet
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ridoutt, B.; Baird, D.; Hendrie, G.A. Diets within Environmental Limits: The Climate Impact of Current and Recommended Australian Diets. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1122. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041122

AMA Style

Ridoutt B, Baird D, Hendrie GA. Diets within Environmental Limits: The Climate Impact of Current and Recommended Australian Diets. Nutrients. 2021; 13(4):1122. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041122

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ridoutt, Bradley, Danielle Baird, and Gilly A. Hendrie. 2021. "Diets within Environmental Limits: The Climate Impact of Current and Recommended Australian Diets" Nutrients 13, no. 4: 1122. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041122

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