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Today Farm Forward joined The Center for Biological Diversity, Brighter Green and 12 other organizations to release a policy brief calling on organizers and attendees of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change conference COP25 to take immediate action to reduce planet-warming emissions from food and agriculture.
The recently released IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land affirmed what a growing body of evidence-based research has concluded: Food and agriculture must be addressed as a key driver of land-use change and the climate crisis.1 Within weeks of the report’s release, the international community witnessed tens of thousands of fires destroy more than 2 million acres of irreplaceable Amazon rainforest for livestock and feed production, worsening the climate and extinction emergencies.2,3 The urgency of these issues and the future of life on this planet demand international action to transform destructive, industrial and unsustainable food systems. Yet the need to address overconsumption and overproduction of animal-based foods remains largely absent from international climate negotiations and commitments. The livestock sector alone accounts for at least 14.5% of global GHG emissions.4 At the same time, with population growth, urbanization, and increasing per-capita consumption of animal products (associated with rising incomes), it is projected that demand for livestock products will increase 70% by 2050.5 Several studies indicate that we cannot meet the ultimate Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming to 2 degrees Celsius,6,7,8 much less to 1.5 degrees, unless we rein in agricultural emissions.
Reducing consumption of food from animal sources, compared to current global trends, is crucial for meeting this goal while also allowing for emissions from other sectors.9 A multi-pronged approach by governments, cooperating with researchers, civil society organizations, educational institutions and other stakeholders is necessary to reduce food and agriculture emissions in order to meet international climate targets.
We call on COP delegates to support the following actions:
December 4, 2019
Gerber, P. J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., … & Tempio, G. (2013). Tackling climate change through livestock: a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “World livestock 2011–Livestock in food security.” (2011): 40.
Brent Kim et al. (2015): The Importance of Reducing Animal Product Consumption and Wasted Food in Mitigating Catastrophic Climate Change. John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Hedenus, F., S. Wirsenius & D. J. A. Johansson (2014): The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets. Climatic Change. 124, p.79–91.
Bajželj, B., Richards, K. S., Allwood, J. M., Smith, P., Dennis, J. S., Curmi, E., & Gilligan, C. A. (2014). Importance of fooddemand management for climate mitigation. Nature Climate Change, 4(10), 924-929.