After the cows again……

There is nothing like a thick juicy steak, but if Chatham House, a London based think tank gets it way the Paris climate change conference next week will recommend member countries cut down on meat consumption to help stem “global warming“.

Crucially, these consumption trends are incompatible with the objective of avoiding dangerous climate change. The livestock sector is already responsible for 7.1 GtCO2 e a year of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – just under 15 per cent of the global total, and equivalent to tailpipe emissions from all the world’s vehicles. Rising demand means emissions will continue to rise. Even with best efforts to reduce the emissions footprint of livestock production, the sector will consume a growing share of the remaining carbon budget. This will make it extremely difficult to realize the goal of limiting the average global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, agreed in 2010 by parties to the UN climate change conference in Cancún. As countries prepare to agree a new international deal at the UN climate change conference in Paris in December 2015, there remains a significant gap between the emissions reductions countries have proposed and what is required for a decent chance of keeping temperature rise below 2°C. Governments need credible strategies to close the gap, and reducing meat consumption is an obvious one: worldwide adoption of a healthy diet would generate over a quarter of the emission reductions needed by 2050.

In their report the think tank presented a list of globally coordinated recommendations to convert mankind from omnivores to herbivores, one of which is to raise the cost of meat.

Use price. Interventions to change the relative prices of foods are likely to be among the most effective in changing consumption patterns. Opportunities include removal of direct or indirect subsidies to the livestock sector, subsidization of plant-based alternatives, or interventions to increase the price of meat and other unsustainable products, such as a carbon tax.