The agriculture sector is one of the biggest emitters of CO2. A 2018 study published in Nature concluded that Americans need to eat 90% less beef and 60% less milk to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.
But as awareness spreads around the benefits of a plant-based diet on the environment, a growing regenerative agriculture (RA) movement says livestock is actually integral to shaping farming practices that will save the planet.
The world’s soil has been degraded by humans via their management of animals—ploughing, intense grazing and clear-cutting—and according to the United Nations, it will be completely degraded in the next 60 years. This is bad news for the quality of crops, and for carbon emissions, since soil captures carbon and prevents it from going into the environment.
In a separate report from 2017, also published in Nature, scientists note that increasing the carbon content of the world’s soils by just a few parts per thousand each year could remove from the atmosphere the same amount of CO2 of the EU.