Government leaders are being “reckless and irresponsible” in ignoring the livestock sector’s effect on the climate, an experts’ report is warning.
Officials worldwide are “terrified of taking on the powerful vested interests that drive expanding global consumption of meat and dairy”, according to the Compassion in World Farming(CiWF charity, which is releasing their report to the Cop26 talks.
According to the document, global meat and dairy consumption must be drastically reduced in order to prevent a climate catastrophe.
But the central role that food and agriculture play in the crisis “appears to be virtually overlooked”, it claims, and that it is “breaking the taboo”.
Based on scientific studies and figures from UN and World Health Organisation, the report concludes that the global food system is responsible for a third all greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace analysis shows that emissions from animal agriculture are comparable to those from the entire global transportation sector.
The organizers of Cop26 were this week criticised for serving a menu comprised of mostly meat. dairy and fish, with plant-based items accounting for less than half of the delegates’ menu.
The report, Breaking the Taboo: Why Diets Must Change to Tackle Climate Emergency, argues that governments must accept that radical dietary shifts can play a significant part in meeting the Paris Agreement target of limiting Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5C.
“Energy, fossil fuels, transportAnd industry tend to dominate climate discussions and actions. Even though it produces 26-37 Percent of GHG, the attention is much less on the food system. [greenhouse gas] emissions,” the report says.
“It is reckless and irresponsible for governments to continue to ignore the livestock sector’s impact on climate change and the ability of dietary shifts to play a significant part in meeting the Paris Agreement targets,” it adds.
The UK Climate Change Committee has called for “a 20 per cent shift away from all meat by 2030, rising to 35 per cent by 2050, and a 20 per cent shift from dairy products by 2030”.
Scientists who are world-leading have previously suggested a tax on meatTo tackle the biodiversityClimate crises.
The production of large quantities of crops for animal feed results in deforestation, and the release carbon dioxide.
Leaders had earlier this week pledged to stop deforestation by 2030. Scientists agree that agriculture causes the most deforestation.
Humane Society International has also called upon world leaders to include animal agriculture in their climate targets and policies.
The CiWF paper explains how fertilizer use can cause greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon and nitrogen oxide.
Report author and CiWF chief policy adviser Peter Stevenson said: “The central role that food and agriculture plays in the climate crisis has been virtually overlooked by world leaders.
“Today we’re breaking the taboo and saying what has to be said – that livestock production is a major driver of the climate crisis.
“Without an urgent and dramatic global reduction in meat and dairy consumption we will be unable to meet the Paris Agreement targets needed to avert a climate catastrophe.
“Are we really prepared to risk destroying the planet simply because we cannot curb our excessive consumption of meat and dairy?
“World leaders must seize the opportunity of ‘nature day’ on Saturday to commit to taking urgent action to reverse this calamitous path.”
The report states that a lower meat intake would help feed the world’s growing population. More crops would be used to produce food for humans.