People highly concerned about climate change make climate-friendlier dietary choices

According to a study conducted in Finland, people highly concerned about climate change make climate-friendlier dietary choices than people who are only slightly or not at all concerned. Knowledge of the causes of climate change is not clearly connected to food choices. These results indicate that increased public concern over climate change could lead to increased consumption of climate-friendly food items and thus climate change mitigation.

The study was conducted by the researchers of The Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research at the University of Oulu, Finland, and the work was supported by Academy of Finland grants (no. 129419, 138691 and 266314). Over 1600 young adults aged 20 to 27 years participated in the questionnaire based study.

Climate-friendly dietary choices are a vital part of successful climate change mitigation. This is because the agriculture sector is responsible for over a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions that are the most important cause of climate change. The production of animal-based foods such as red meat and cheese generates substantial greenhouse gas emission whereas the production of plan-based foods such as potatoes and vegetable oils causes less emission. Hence individuals, if willing, can mitigate climate change through dietary choices.

The results of the study have been published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

Last updated: 14.5.2014