For all of you contemplating not eating meat for health reasons, Lord Stern’s comments provides you with yet another reason to reconsider your current lifestyle choices. Now, I also realize that not everyone is committed to make the change from carnivore to herbivore. So let’s take a moment to assess his argument.
To do this I will use David MacKay’s approach to calculating energy needs. So to start, let’s assume the average American eats about 1/2 pound of meat per day and after we factor in energy costs of meat production (I am going to use a shortcut of about 170kg multiplied by 3kWh/d divided by 65kg to account for meat consumption and then add in roughly 4kWh day to account for energy production) the result is approximately 12kWh per day or approximately 6% of an individual’s annual energy consumption. For me, I am not convinced this policy decision will have the overall impact suggested by Lord Stern on overall emissions. But nevertheless, his argument does empower vegetarians globally and gives them another reason to feel good about their diet!