Fueled by rising incomes rather than urbanization, meat consumption in China grew sevenfold over the last three decades and a half. In the early 1980s, when the population was still under one billion, the average Chinese person ate around 30 pounds of meat per year. Today, with an additional 380 million people, it’s nearly 140 pounds. On the whole, the country consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat — twice as much as the United States. And the figure is only set to increase.
But as the Chinese appetite for meat expands, the booming nation is faced with a quandary: How to satisfy the surging demand for meat without undermining the country’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming — goals that have been expressly incorporated into national economic, social development, and long-term planning under the Xi Jinping administration. [Continue reading…]