London university bans beef in climate change fight

London university bans beef in climate change fight
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Goldsmiths University in London announced Monday that it would be banning all beef products on campus in an effort to fight climate change and become carbon neutral by 2025. 

The move goes into effect in September, when the 2019 academic year begins, affecting all campus food outlets.

Students will also face a 10 pence (12 cents) levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups. The money raised will be directed to a green student initiative fund, Goldsmiths announced.

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“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words. I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use,” university warden Frances Corner said in a statement.

Scientists have argued that avoiding meat and dairy products could be the simplest way to reduce humans’ environmental impacts.

An analysis released last year by the journal Science found that meat and dairy production produces nearly 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Beef production, in particular, produced up to 106 kilograms of greenhouse gases for every 100 grams of meat produced, compared to the 3.5 kilograms produced making tofu.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” Joseph Poore from University of Oxford told The Guardian. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

The beef ban is part of a comprehensive action plan aimed at enabling the university to meet zero carbon emissions within the next six years.

The school currently emits around 3.7 million kilograms of carbon emissions each year, according to the statement. Goldsmiths has roughly 10,000 students.

Goldsmiths also confirmed that the university’s endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from extraction of fossil fuels.