(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Israel has the unenviable title of having the world’s largest per capita poultry-related carbon footprint, a study comparing annual carbon dioxide emissions across 130 countries revealed on Tuesday.
German nutrition retailer nu3 analyzed data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to assess which countries have the potential to significantly reduce their carbon footprint by switching their consumption habits to a plant-based diet that would minimize damage to the environment.
According to the study, Israel emits 67.1 kg. of poultry-related carbon dioxide per person annually, more than any other country. The Israeli average significantly exceeds the annual poultry-consumption emissions of second-placed Trinidad and Tobago (62.6 kg.) and third-placed Hong Kong (58.9 kg.).
The study shows that Israel is ranked 22nd globally in terms of potential carbon-footprint reduction, with an average footprint of 192.8 kg. per person annually for animal product consumption and only 14.1 kg. per person for non-animal products, such as wheat, rice and nuts.
The potential for reducing emissions is based on evaluating the amount of carbon dioxide a person in each country could reduce annually by replacing 1 kg. of animal product with 1 kg. of non-animal product.
Argentina has the greatest carbon footprint related to animal product consumption, emitting 305.81 kg. of carbon dioxide per person annually. Figures show that this is largely due to the high level of beef consumption there.
The country only emits 7.94 kg. of carbon dioxide per person for non-animal products, meaning that Argentinians can make the greatest positive impact to the environment by switching to a plant-based diet. Australia has the second greatest potential to reduce emissions, followed by Iceland, Albania and New Zealand.
“With this study revealing how switching diets could drastically reduce our carbon footprint, it’s becoming increasingly harder to ignore the benefits of moving to a plant-based diet, both for our health and our planet,” said nu3 CEO Robert Sünderhauf.
For those not ready to give up meat altogether, Sünderhauf suggests switching to healthier fish and poultry from fattier red meats such as lamb and beef which leave a far greater carbon footprint. Eggs are preferable to milk products and cheese as they produce significantly less carbon dioxide.
“All evidence points towards a mainly plant-based diet, with lean animal-based protein if needed, to help both our bodies and our environment prosper,” said Sünderhauf.