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Home Middle Column GLOBAL WARMING: Eating INSECTS 'could help tackle climate change'

GLOBAL WARMING: Eating INSECTS ‘could help tackle climate change’

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Replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with crickets and mealworms would cut farmland use by a third, substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers say.

While consumers’ reluctance to eat insects may limit their consumption, even a small increase would bring benefits, the team says.

This could potentially be achieved by using insects as ingredients in some pre-packaged foods.

eating insectsGETTY – STOCK IMAGE

Researchers say that replacing meat with crickets and mealworms could help tackle climate change

Using data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, scientists compared the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food.

It is the first study to do so.

insects as food saladGETTY – STOCK IMAGE

They said it would cut farmland use which would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College considered a scenario in which half of the current mix of animal products is replaced by insects, lab-grown meat or imitation meat.

The environmental challenges facing the global agricultural industry are increasing

Dr Peter Alexander

They found that insects and imitation meat – such as soybean-based foods like tofu – are the most sustainable as they require the least land and energy to produce.

Beef is by far the least sustainable, the team says.

In contrast to previous studies, lab-grown meat was found to be no more sustainable than chicken or eggs, requiring an equivalent area of land but using more energy in production.

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