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Urgent need to reduce meat and dairy consumption to achieve climate goals, says expert

Livestock farming would be able to use almost half of the 1.5-C greenhouse gas emission budget that was permitted in 2030, so tackling this should be an important part of the strategy to achieve climate goals, according to a new survey published in Climate policy.

Dr. Helen Harwatt, agricultural pet law and policy officer at the Harvard Law School, advises that obtaining proteins from plant sources instead of animal sources would help drastically achieve climate goals and reduce the risk of temperature targets being exceeded.

For the first time, Dr. Harwatt proposes a three-step strategy to gradually replace animal proteins with plant proteins, as part of the promise to mitigate climate change. These are:

    1) Recognizing that the current number of animals is at their peak and will have to decrease (& # 39; peak cattle & # 39;).

    2) Establish objectives to switch from animal products, starting with food linked to the highest emissions of greenhouse gases such as beef, then cow's milk and pork (the worst approach & # 39;).

    3) Assessment of appropriate substitute products against a range of criteria, including greenhouse gas emission targets, land use and public health benefits (& # 39; best available food & # 39; approach).

Harwatt further explains that recent data show that, in comparison with the current food system, switching from animals to plant proteins could possibly feed 350 million people in the US alone.

Previous studies suggested that reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products also offers a number of additional benefits, such as the preservation of biodiversity and the improvement of human health.

The article reports that the current livestock in the world is around 28 billion animals and is the highest source of two major greenhouse gases – methane and nitrogen oxide. The production of methane in particular is difficult because it has an 85 times greater greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide over a period of 20 years. The methane emissions from livestock farming are expected to rise by 60 percent by 2030 – the same period when strong and rapid reductions are needed.

"Given the significant contribution of the livestock sector to global greenhouse gas emissions and methane dominance, protein shifts from animals to plants make a much needed contribution to achieving Paris' temperature targets and reducing global warming while providing a series of additional benefits. "Harwatt says.

She added: "If we do not carry out the protein shifts from animals to plants, the risk of exceeding the temperature targets increases and additional and unrealistic greenhouse gas reductions from other sectors are needed. The current review of national contributions to meet the Paris agreement from 2020 onwards should ideally integrate animal-to-plant protein shifts As a next step, the COP24 offers an excellent opportunity for policy makers to start this important discussion in December this year. "

The article recognizes branches, such as companies, can be a spearhead for these efforts. Dr. Dr. Harwatt already uses her three-step animal-plant protein-shifting approach in the food service sector in her role as advisor for sustainable food policy at the Humane Society International UK (HSI) charity.

HSI executes the Forward Food program that offers free vegetable culinary training for chefs from the public and private sectors. Here can Dr. Harwatt and other experts also assess food-related greenhouse gas emissions at the institutional level and apply the three-step strategy to identify opportunities for emission reductions due to a peak in the purchase of animal products, the worst scoop & # 39; to address and replace them with the best available food.

She notes: "The food sector is already making progress in this area and shows that it is commercially feasible to include protein shifts from animal to plant." We need policymakers to be able to produce Paris-compliant food systems on a much larger and faster scale – and shifts from animal to plant protein play a key role. "


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