Call for climate change links debate

Charity, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), and pressure group Food Ethics Council (FEC) have published a policy framework to discuss the connections between eating meat and climate change.

The new report called ‘Livestock Consumption and Climate Change: A Framework for Dialogue’ is aimed at getting farmers, policy makers and environmental groups talking together to address the effect livestock production has on the planet.

WWF’s One Planet Food programme head Mark Driscoll said: “Producers, processors and retailers are already making progress in terms of reducing emissions from their businesses and products. However, until now they have had little guidance on the possibilities of making further reductions through changes in consumer behaviour. It’s up to government to give them that direction. This report provides a useful starting point for that process.”

The conservation charity claimed that in the UK, the food eaten accounts for around a fifth of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a large proportion of that is related to meat and dairy consumption.

The report is said to highlight the efforts already being made by the food industry including farmers, processors and retailers to reduce the GHG ‘footprint’ of meat and dairy products.

It also lists 27 suggestions for changes to all our eating habits to help cut those emissions from financial and political measures to raise prices on high-emission products, to influencing consumer behaviour more directly.

Tom MacMillan, FEC executive director, added: “This framework worked well when we trialled it with people from the industry and from government. It enabled all sides to agree that it is important to pursue GHG emissions reductions in the livestock sector through changes in consumption, as well as through technical abatement in production.”

THE WWF added greenhouse gas emissions from the production and consumption of food should be reduced 25% by 2020 and at least 70% by 2050, based on 1990 levels.