People may have to go vegetarian to save the planet says Lord Stern of Brentford, a senior authority on climate change.
According to a report in the Guardian, Lord Stern, former adviser to the British government on the economics of climate change, said that people would have to consider turning vegetarian to help reduce global carbon emissions.
"Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better," Stern said.
Farmed ruminant animals, including cattle and sheep, are thought to be responsible for up to a quarter of "man-made" methane emissions worldwide.
Stern, whose 2006 Stern Review warned that countries needed to spend 1 percent of their GDP to stop greenhouse gases rising to dangerous levels, said that a successful deal at the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December would massively increase the cost of producing meat.
People's concerns about climate change would lead to meat eating becoming unacceptable, he predicted.
"I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating," Stern told the Times.
"I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food," he said.
According to Stern, eating meat could become as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving because of the impact it has on global warming.