James Cameron: Eat a ‘plant-based diet’ to fight climate change
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Director James Cameron said Tuesday that humanity could prevent climate change by eliminating meat from its diet.

“Nutritionally, we don’t need to eat animals and animal products,” he wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek.

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“We’re actually much healthier if we don’t,” Cameron continued. "This has been proven; there’s a depth and breadth of scientific analysis behind that statement.

“So, cutting down on animal agriculture makes sense,” he added. "It’s the thermostat we can grab the quickest and change the fastest.

“The single biggest thing an individual can do is shift to a more plant-based diet. It’s a win-win. It’s a win for your health [and] it’s a win for the environment.”

Cameron argued that animal agriculture is a major cause of the greenhouse gases creating dangerous climate change.

“Animal agriculture is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions through its production of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides,” he said.

“If you look at the forcing effect of animal agriculture – and this is just animal agriculture – it’s actually larger than the entire transportation sector,” the “Avatar” director wrote.

“We can all reduce the impact of climate change immediately by changing what we buy at supermarkets, what we order at restaurants and by changing what we eat,” he added. "Our diet is unhealthy for us and unhealthy for the planet."

Cameron additionally said that climate change inaction could produce harmful extreme weather and other negative consequences.

“Climate change isn’t some hypothetical thing that our children are going to face in the future,” he said.

“It’s happening now, with worsening droughts, agriculture crashes, and rising sea levels that will prompt the mass displacement of millions of people,” Cameron wrote.

"It’s insidious and a lot like rabies, as I always say. By the time you’re symptomatic, it’s too late for a cure. I hope I’m wrong about that; we’re already symptomatic.”

Cameron’s op-ed representatives from 195 nations gather in Paris for the COP21 climate conference there.

COP21 negotiators announced last weekend that they had reached a tentative deal for reducing global carbon emissions.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is working on the pact’s details for a final version due later this week. The forum’s participants are working towards a definitive target for reduced carbon emissions by 2050.

Obama administration officials assured lawmakers earlier this year that environmental concerns would not factor into new dieteraty guidelines for everyday Americans due this month.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in October that the upcoming rules should focus only on dietary information rather than also considering environmental sustainability as well.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee - a federally appointed panel of nutritionists created in 1983 for help crafting the guidelines - decided for the first time earlier this year that it would include environmental analysis in its recommendations.

Critics - primarily from the meat industry - argued that the advisory panel had neither the authority nor the expertise for such a judgement call.

Vilsack then admitted on Oct. 7 that the committee merely advises final decisions from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

"The [Dietary Guidelines] Advisory Committee's report is not the guidelines and sometimes there's confusion about that," he said on the House floor. "The report informs our work, but it certainly does not and should not dictate it."