Cows graze in the fields and farms outside of Petaluma, Calif. on Dec. 26, 2003.
David Paul Morris—Getty Images
January 2, 2019 9:01 PM EST

If people switched to alternative sources of protein from beef, diet-related deaths may decline as much as 5% in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

The report also says such a scenario could reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter.

“It will be impossible to sustainably satisfy the world’s future demand for meat,” Dominic Waughray, managing director of the World Economic Forum, said in a statement.

The report said the challenge of meeting protein needs of a projected population of 10 billion people by around 2050 sustainably can be helped by innovation and experimentation in alternative and traditional proteins.

Global meat consumption is rising with no sign of stopping, the report said. Demand is increasing rapidly in China and increasing in other developing regions, while holding relatively stable at high levels in high-income countries, the report said.

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