COP28 Report Doesn’t Call for Cutting Back on Meat Consumptionthedigitalchaps


Improving efficiency of animal agriculture is key to reducing emissions, says new report published by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

The United Nations is not strictly calling for developed countries to give up meat consumption to fight climate change.

Neither report explicitly told developed nations like the United States that citizens should reduce their meat consumption. Instead, each focused on the collective mission of the world to improve the efficiency of its farming practices through modernized agricultural practices.
“The roadmap envisions transforming agrifood systems from a net emitter to a carbon sink. It calls for alternative production methods, adjusted consumption patterns, refined forestry management, and innovative technologies such as carbon capture,” said a release from the FAO.

The Epoch Times reached out to FAO but did not receive a reply by press time.

Both reports were released as part of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP28, being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The meeting, which runs from Nov. 30 through Dec. 12, is centered on finding ways to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Improving Efficiency

The FAO’s roadmap report advises against “pitting developed against developing nations.”

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“The roadmap shows that achieving these goals, with the right set of actions, is compatible with agrifood systems that are net carbon sinks,” the FAO report said. “Such actions like reducing food loss and waste, improving productivity, especially in the livestock sector, methane reduction technologies, and adopting practices for soil and land use management lead to substantial mitigation potential.”

Frank Mitloehner, a speaker at COP28, told The Epoch Times in an email that the “roadmap report is not about eating less meat.”

Mr. Mitloehner, director of the Clarity and Leadership for Environmental Awareness and Research Center at the University of California, Davis, wrote in his blog that only collective actions by the world’s farmers can successfully reduce methane emissions.

“There is no single solution that can reduce emissions enough to dramatically lessen the climate impact of animal agriculture,” Mr. Mitloehner wrote. “Although many animal rights activists would love to see a reduction in the consumption of animal-sourced foods, it’s not a practical solution.”

Instead, farmers worldwide should focus on the twin goals of increasing productivity and improving animal welfare.

“Improving productivity alone could reduce emissions by 30 percent, while improved animal welfare can reduce emissions by double-digit percentages in certain regions,” Mr. Mitloehner wrote.

Less Beef, More Food Taxes?

The FAO report did somewhat take aim at the global beef industry, saying in its section on livestock that “beef, cows, and buffalos alone account for 70 percent of all livestock emissions.” The same section called for improving genetics, feed practices, veterinary services, and grazing management practices.

“Shifting from large ruminant to small ruminant animals for meat products, and from ruminant to monogastric animals—in particular, chicken—will reduce the [greenhouse gas] impacts of animal food based products,” the FAO report said.

As for dietary guidelines, the FAO said the world needs less ultra-processed food, better nutrition labeling practices, and more policies designed to drive people away from unhealthy foods.

The FAO report said food taxes on items like sugar-sweetened beverages designed to fight obesity have had “undeniable” benefits for the climate. However, it suggested so-called nudges—rather than outright food taxes—to coax people into making healthier choices.

“Enacting [tax] measures, however, no doubt elicits several challenges … and regressive consequences for low-income families or working families with young children,” the FAO report said.

“On the other hand, nutritious food subsidies to promote healthy diets targeting low-income households are beneficial for increasing the affordability of healthy diets.”

The FAO report said a third version of its global roadmap will be published at COP30 in 2025.