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      Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change.

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          Abstract

          What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the environment we all share. Recent analyses have highlighted the likely dual health and environmental benefits of reducing the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets. Here, we couple for the first time, to our knowledge, a region-specific global health model based on dietary and weight-related risk factors with emissions accounting and economic valuation modules to quantify the linked health and environmental consequences of dietary changes. We find that the impacts of dietary changes toward less meat and more plant-based diets vary greatly among regions. The largest absolute environmental and health benefits result from diet shifts in developing countries whereas Western high-income and middle-income countries gain most in per capita terms. Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global mortality by 6-10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29-70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050. We find that the monetized value of the improvements in health would be comparable with, or exceed, the value of the environmental benefits although the exact valuation method used considerably affects the estimated amounts. Overall, we estimate the economic benefits of improving diets to be 1-31 trillion US dollars, which is equivalent to 0.4-13% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2050. However, significant changes in the global food system would be necessary for regional diets to match the dietary patterns studied here.

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          Most cited references17

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          A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010

          The Lancet, 380(9859), 2224-2260
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            Is Open Access

            Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050

            Several studies have shown that global crop production needs to double by 2050 to meet the projected demands from rising population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuels consumption. Boosting crop yields to meet these rising demands, rather than clearing more land for agriculture has been highlighted as a preferred solution to meet this goal. However, we first need to understand how crop yields are changing globally, and whether we are on track to double production by 2050. Using ∼2.5 million agricultural statistics, collected for ∼13,500 political units across the world, we track four key global crops—maize, rice, wheat, and soybean—that currently produce nearly two-thirds of global agricultural calories. We find that yields in these top four crops are increasing at 1.6%, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 1.3% per year, non-compounding rates, respectively, which is less than the 2.4% per year rate required to double global production by 2050. At these rates global production in these crops would increase by ∼67%, ∼42%, ∼38%, and ∼55%, respectively, which is far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050. We present detailed maps to identify where rates must be increased to boost crop production and meet rising demands.
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              Climate Change and Food Systems

              Food systems contribute 19%–29% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, releasing 9,800–16,900 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2008. Agricultural production, including indirect emissions associated with land-cover change, contributes 80%–86% of total food system emissions, with significant regional variation. The impacts of global climate change on food systems are expected to be widespread, complex, geographically and temporally variable, and profoundly influenced by socioeconomic conditions. Historical statistical studies and integrated assessment models provide evidence that climate change will affect agricultural yields and earnings, food prices, reliability of delivery, food quality, and, notably, food safety. Low-income producers and consumers of food will be more vulnerable to climate change owing to their comparatively limited ability to invest in adaptive institutions and technologies under increasing climatic risks. Some synergies among food security, adaptation, and mitigation are feasible. But promising interventions, such as agricultural intensification or reductions in waste, will require careful management to distribute costs and benefits effectively.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                1091-6490
                0027-8424
                Apr 12 2016
                : 113
                : 15
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom; British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, United Kingdom; marco.springmann@dph.ox.ac.uk.
                [2 ] Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom; Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom.
                [3 ] Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom; British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, United Kingdom;
                Article
                1523119113
                10.1073/pnas.1523119113
                27001851
                bd224759-92e6-419b-b1b2-aec2859a4e27
                History

                dietary change,food system,greenhouse gas emissions,health analysis,sustainable diets

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