Former World Bank chief economist compares eating meat to drink driving *
By Daily Mail Reporter
Save the planet, go veggie, says climate chief Lord Stern
Britons should turn vegetarian to help beat global warming, according to one of the world’s top experts on climate change.
Lord Stern said methane emissions from cows and pigs were putting ‘enormous pressure’ on the world.
The peer, who wrote an influential review of climate change in 2006, advocated a meat-free diet and called on people to think more about the effect of what they eat.
He predicted people’s attitudes to eating meat would change so much with time that it would eventually become unacceptable - in the same way as drink driving.
And he also forecast the price of meat and other foods that generate a lot of greenhouse gases could rise after December’s pivotal climate change conference.
‘Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It put enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,’ he said.
The former World Bank chief economist spoke to The Times ahead of the climate change summit in Copenhagen.
He said a successful conference would result in higher costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
‘I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,’ the London School of Economics professor said.
‘I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student.
‘People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.’
His 2006 review warned that if the world did not act on global warming, the cost would be at least 5 per cent of GDP ‘now and forever’.
‘Climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response,’ he said.
By Robin Pagnamenta
Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet
In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”
Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
He predicted that people’s attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. “I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said. “I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.”
Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.
He also issued a clear message to President Obama that he must attend the meeting in Copenhagen in person in order for an effective deal to be reached. US leadership, he said, was “desperately needed” to secure a deal.
He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. “I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary,” he added.