Sir Paul McCartney, Lord Stern and the UN have suggested people may to stop eating meat completely in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.
However, the new report says that if people cut meat from their diet for just two days a week - adopting "flexitarianism" - that will be enough to stop global warming.
Meat eating is a problem because cows produce the greenhouse gas methane in large quantities, while it requires a lot more energy and water to produce chickens or other animals rather than vegetables.
The latest research by Friends of the Earth and Compassion in World Farming looked at different diets, farming methods and land use to find out how much carbon dioxide is produced under different models.
It found that enough food could be produced to feed the growing world population, while not increasing greenhouse gases, if more sustainable farming methods are used. For example vegetables can be grown locally and animals can be grazed on British uplands rather than coming from cleared rainforest in Brazil.
Consumers can also make a difference. At the moment, during the week the average European eats one large beef steak, two portions of chicken breast, two pork chops as well as milk and cheese every day.
But just by cutting out meat on two days and eating slightly smaller portions of both meat and dairy, people could make a huge difference to the planet. This would still mean the average European could have a balanced diet of one small beef steak, one portion of fish, one portion of chicken, two pork sausages and two eggs over the course of the week, as well as a small amount of dairy products every day
Clare Oxborrow, senior food campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said people could make a difference with small changes to their diet.
“It’s amazing news that we can feed a rapidly expanding population without trashing the planet – and still eat meat several times a week," she said.Last Updated: 11/11/09 12:28