The link between meat consumption and climate change is strong. So strong, in fact, that the Chinese government has committed to a new plan to cut the country’s meat consumption by 50 percent. For a nation that consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat, nearly half the planet’s pork, and is one of the top three most polluted countries on Earth, slashing meat consumption may be a huge challenge, but the rewards will be immense if the plan is successful.

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China’s health ministry is behind the effort, packaging its recommendations in a new report on dietary guidelines, updated for the first time in 10 years. The guidelines recommend residents drastically reduce their meat consumption specifically to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s livestock industry. The health ministry estimates that a 50 percent cut in consumption would translate into a savings of one billion tons of emissions by 2030. Considering the projected emissions for that year hover around 1.8 billion tons, that’s pretty epic.

Related: New study proves the health, environmental, and economic benefits of eating less meat

Around the globe, governments are racing against time to find ways to combat climate change, and addressing meat consumption is just one angle. While China has opted to mandate less meat, other countries are considering ways to simply make it less attractive. For instance, Denmark recently proposed a tax on red meat, although that measure isn’t likely to pass. Time will tell how the new dietary guidelines fare in China.

Via The Guardian

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