China’s health ministry has announced new dietary guidelines for the nation’s 1.4 billion inhabitants. The guidelines now recommend no more than 40 to 75 grams (1.4 to 2.6 ounces) of meat per person per day—a 50 percent reduction of the current average consumption. China, the world leader in greenhouse gas emissions, is seeking ways to reduce its carbon output. According to the Guardian, following the new guidelines would allow China’s livestock industry to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by the year 2030.
Because cows, chickens, and other animals emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, the keeping of livestock results in more emissions than the entire transportation sector. Public health advocates and nutrition scientists have urged the USDA to make similar changes to American dietary guidelines, but have met with stiff resistance from the meat industry.