REFERENCES FOR THE FOOD SYSTEMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE CONNECTION

🍎 Research connecting our food and agriculture system to climate change and environmental degradation and human health
  • Clune et al. Systematic review of greenhouse gas emissions for different fresh food categories journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 140, Part 2, 1 January 2017, Pages 766-783
  • Clark et al.  SUMMARY PAPER 2: The role of healthy diets in creating environmentally sustainable food systems World Health Organization/FAO ”SUSTAINABLE HEALTHY DIETS GUIDING PRINCIPLES” (2019)
    • “Global adoption of a low-meat diet that meets nutritional recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and caloric requirements is estimated to reduce diet-related GHGs by nearly 50 percent, and premature mortality by nearly 20 percent.“
    • “In addition to dietary changes, other changes to the food system could further reduce its environmental impact, including reductions in food loss and waste; technology implementation and changes in management to improve crop yields and reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff; and changes in food formulation, processing, and preparation.”
    • “The benefits of adopting environmentally sustainable and healthy diets will vary by country”
  • *Clark MA, Springmann M, Hill J, Tilman D. Multiple health and environmental impacts of foods. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019;116(46):23357-23362.
    • We find that foods associated with improved adult health also often have low environmental impacts, indicating that the same dietary transitions that would lower incidences of noncommunicable diseases would also help meet environmental sustainability targets.
  • Clune et al. Systematic review of greenhouse gas emissions for different fresh food categories Journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 140, Part 2, 1 January 2017, Pages 766-783
    • Life cycle assessments (LCAs) of food ingredients and products provide the primary means to understand a food’s environmental impact, discussed in this paper with specific respect to a food’s Global Warming Potential
    • The meta-analysis indicates a clear greenhouse gas hierarchy emerging across the food categories, with grains, fruit and vegetables having the lowest impact and meat from ruminants having the highest impact.
  •  Crippa M, Solazzo E, Guizzardi D, Monforti-Ferrario F, Tubiello FN, Leip A. Food Systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nature Food. 2021;2(3):198-209. 
    • The largest contribution came from agriculture and land use/land-use change activities (71%), with the remaining were from supply chain activities: retail, transport, consumption, fuel production, waste management, industrial processes and packaging.
  • Dietary guidelines and sustainability. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.    Accessed Sept 2022
    • “Recommendations include for example: having a mostly plant-based diet, focus on seasonal and local foods, reduction of food waste, consumption of fish from sustainable stocks only and reduction of red and processed meat, highly-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.”
  • Fanzo, J., Bellows, A. L., Spiker, M. L., Thorne-Lyman, A. L., & Bloem, M. W. (2021). The importance of food systems and the environment for nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 113(1), 7-16.
    • “There remain many research questions and gaps in evidence on how to transform food systems so that they benefit both human nutrition and health while protecting ecological resources, supporting livelihoods and affordable foods, and upholding social, cultural, and ethical values. This article will summarize this emerging field, and describe what new science, research, and evidence are needed to bring about food policy changes in the era of climate disruption and environmental degradation.”
  • Farm to Fork Strategy: For a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. European Commission.  Accessed September, 2022.
    • The Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the Green Deal. It addresses comprehensively the challenges of sustainable food systems and recognises the inextricable links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet. The strategy is also central to the Commission’s agenda to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All citizens and operators across value chains, in the EU and elsewhere, should benefit from a just transition, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn. A shift to a sustainable food system can bring environmental, health and social benefits, offer economic gains and ensure that the recovery from the crisis puts us onto a sustainable path.
    • “Food systems remain one of the key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation. There is an urgent need to reduce dependency on pesticides and antimicrobials, reduce excess fertilisation, increase organic farming, improve animal welfare, and reverse biodiversity loss. “
  • Foley J. Foreword – diets for a better future – eat knowledge. EAT. Accessed October, 2022.
    • Our food system and agricultural practices are major drivers of environmental degradation worldwide. Already, agricultural land use dominates about 40% of the Earth’s land surface and has been the principle driver of tropical deforestation, habitat loss and degradation, and global biodiversity loss.”
    • “Numerous changes to the food system are needed, including protecting intact ecosystems, improving the sustainability of our farming practices, and addressing the tremendous levels of waste in the food system. But there is one crucial factor that can simultaneously improve our health, our food security, and our environment at the same time – namely, changing our diets.”
  • Gardner CD, Hartle JC, Garrett RD, Offringa LC, Wasserman AS. Maximizing the intersection of human health and the health of the environment with regard to the amount and type of protein produced and consumed in the United States. Nutrition Reviews. 2019;77(4):197-215.
    • Greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2eq) and blue and green water impacts of US protein consumption resulting from US agricultural practices were obtained from previously published meta-analyses. A 25% decrease in protein intake paired with a 25% shift from animal food to plant food protein intake—from an 85:15 ratio to a 60:40 ratio—would best align protein intake with national dietary recommendations while simultaneously resulting in 40% fewer CO2eq emissions and 10% less consumptive water use.
  • Halpern, B.S., Frazier, M., Verstaen, J. et al. The environmental footprint of global food production. Nat Sustain (2022). 
    1. “Assessed impacts including displacing ecosystems for cropland and destroying seafloor habitat with fishing equipment; water used by crops and livestock; nutrient pollution of waterways from fertilizer-tainted runoff and concentrated fecal matter; and greenhouse gas emissions from farming machinery and boat engines, production of fertilizers and pesticides, and livestock flatulence and manure”
    2. “Importantly, the cumulative pressure per unit of food production (efficiency) varies spatially for each food type such that rankings of foods by efficiency differ sharply among countries”.
    3. Layperson article: “Here’s exactly how your diet affects the planet, a landmark study finds”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2022/10/24/pork-beef-diet-climate-impact /
  • How our food system affects climate change. FoodPrint. Published September 25, 2019
  • Kc KB, Dias GM, Veeramani A, Swanton CJ, Fraser D, Steinke D, Lee E, Wittman H, Farber JM, Dunfield K, McCann K, Anand M, Campbell M, Rooney N, Raine NE, Acker RV, Hanner R, Pascoal S, Sharif S, Benton TG, Fraser EDG. When too much isn’t enough: Does current food production meet global nutritional needs? PLoS One. 2018 Oct 23;13(10):e0205683
  • Mejía NV, Reyes RP, Martinez Y, Carrasco O, Cerritos R. Implications of the Western diet for agricultural production, health and climate change Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 20 December 2018
    • In addition to these health effects, the Western diet relies on methods of agricultural production that negatively impact ecosystems, increase the use of fossil fuels and boost greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe).
    • Changing the Western diet could substantially reduce diabetes, obesity, and GHGe. Consuming insects and a wider variety of plant species could improve health outcomes and reduce some of the environmental impacts of agricultural production.
  • Ranganathan et al. Shifting Diets For A Sustainable Food Future World Resources Institute. 2016
    • Multinational businesses are increasingly influencing what is grown and what people eat. Together, these trends are driving a convergence toward Western-style diets, which are high in calories, protein, and animal-based foods. “
    • “Unless curbed, the demand for animal-based products will make it hard to achieve several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including those on hunger, healthy lives, management of water, consumption and production, climate change, and terrestrial ecosystems.”
  • Springmann M, Clark M, Mason-D’Croz D, et al. Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Nature. 2018;562(7728):519-525.
    • The researchers found a global shift to a “flexitarian” diet was needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds. This would halve emissions from livestock and better management of manure would enable further cuts.
    • We analyze several options for reducing the environmental effects of the food system, including dietary changes towards healthier, more plant-based diets, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste.
  • Springmann M, Clark MA, Rayner M, Scarborough P, Webb P. The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modeling study. The Lancet Planetary Health. 2021 Oct 27.
    • “In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, dietary change interventions that incentivise adoption of healthy and sustainable diets can help consumers in those countries reduce costs while, at the same time, contribute to fulfilling national climate change commitments and reduce public health spending. In low-income and lower-middle-income countries, healthy and sustainable diets are substantially less costly than western diets and can also be cost-competitive in the medium-to-long term, subject to beneficial socioeconomic development and reductions in food waste.”
  • Sustainable healthy diets: guiding principles. World Health Organization.   Published 29 October 2019.
    • “For example, global adoption of a low-meat diet that meets nutritional recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and caloric requirements is estimated to reduce diet-related GHGs by nearly 50 percent, and premature mortality by nearly 20 percent. “
      • “In addition to dietary changes, other changes to the food system could further reduce its environmental impact, including reductions in food loss and waste; technology implementation and changes in management to improve crop yields and reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff; and changes in food formulation, processing, and preparation.”
  • Thompson, A.  Here’s How Much Food Contributes to Climate Change. Scientific American; Published September 13, 2021

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