Meat eaters in developed countries will have to eat a lot less meat, cutting consumption by 50%, to avoid the worst consequences of future climate change, new research warns.
The fertilisers used in farming are responsible for a significant share of the warming that causes climate change.
A study published in Environmental Research Letters warns that drastic changes in food production and at the dinner table are needed by 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic global warming.
It's arguably the most difficult challenge in dealing with climate change: how to reduce emissions from food production while still producing enough to feed a global population projected to reach 9 billion by the middle of this century.
The findings, by Eric Davidson, director of the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, say the developed world will have to cut fertiliser use by 50% and persuade consumers in the developed world to stop eating so much meat.
Davidson concedes it's a hard sell. Meat is a regular part of the diet in the developed world. In developing economies, such as China and India, meat consumption has risen along with prosperity.