It seems like an impossible challenge. A new study contends that Europe's chance of meeting its greenhouse gas emissions targets will require that consumption of meat and dairy be scaled back, way back, by 2050. How far back? By half based on today's numbers.
Population may grow, wealth may increase, no matter. Meat and dairy consumption has to be throttled way back.
The study calls for the European commission to urgently set up a formal inquiry mandated to propose measures – including taxes and subsidies – that “discourage livestock products harmful to health, climate or the environment”.
Livestock has the world’s largest land footprint and is growing fast, with close to 80% of the planet’s agricultural land now used for grazing and animal feed production, even though meat delivers just 18% of our calories.
Europeans already eat more than twice as much meat as national dietary authorities recommend – far beyond a “safe operating space” within environmental limits, says the Rise foundation study.Can it be done? I suppose anything is possible but, once again, it comes down to public acceptance and a greatly shored up political will, so often found lacking these days.