U.N.: Eat Less Meat to Save the Planet

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Beat the heat — eat less meat.

That's the message being sent by the head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won last year's Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore.

"Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there," Dr. Rajendra Pachauri told Britain's Observer newspaper in comments published Sunday.

Pachauri reasons that because raising, feeding, slaughtering and shipping livestock produces much more greenhouse gas than does growing plants, a decrease in the number of livestock worldwide would do a lot to offset the threat of global warming.

"In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity," he told the Observer.

A U.N. study in 2006 found that 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions came from the livestock industry, chiefly in the form of methane burped up and otherwise emitted by cattle, sheep and pigs.

Additionally, as meat consumption grows as developing countries get richer, more and more forests are cut down for pasture, resulting in fewer trees to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen.

Chris Lamb, a spokesman for the British pork industry, disputed Pachauri's logic.

"Climate change is a very young science and our view is there are a lot of simplistic solutions being proposed," Lamb said.

Pachauri, who like many Indians is a vegetarian, was re-appointed last week to a new six-year term as the head of the IPCC.

• Click here to read the full article in the Observer.

• Click here for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's press release, 'Livestock a major threat to environment.'

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Natural Science Center.