Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change co-benefits of dietary change

12 April 2016

Vol. 113 no. 15 > Marco Springmann, 4146–4151, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1523119113

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The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions while unhealthy diets and high body weight are among the greatest contributors to premature mortality. Our study provides a comparative analysis of the health and climate change benefits of global dietary changes for all major world regions. We project that health and climate change benefits will both be greater the lower the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets. Three quarters of all benefits occur in developing countries although the per capita impacts of dietary change would be greatest in developed countries. The monetized value of health improvements could be comparable with, and possibly larger than, the environmental benefits of the avoided damages from climate change.

News story: Plant-based diets could save millions of lives and dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions