In recent years, scientists and world leaders have been calling for global citizens to decrease their meat consumption and embrace healthier, more sustainable plant-based proteins. As many researchers have pointed out, reducing the number of livestock raised internationally will be a vital step in limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the levels outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Now, yet another report – this one from the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli), the primary strategic advisory board for Dutch Ministers – highlighted the importance of drastically cutting livestock numbers in order to fight climate change.
The just-released report seeks to guide the Dutch Parliament on how to successfully meet its target of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050, and reducing livestock production is unsurprisingly cited as one of the most necessary changes.
As is stated in the Rli’s report, “All things considered, the Council considers it more than likely that the livestock population will eventually have to be reduced in order to meet the climate targets and ensure a balanced distribution of the emissions reduction burden across the economy.”
This proclamation is certainly well reasoned, especially considering industrial animal agriculture is responsible for producing more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector!
So how exactly does the Rli suggest the Dutch government go about transitioning away from livestock farming in the coming years? Here are a few specific steps the recent report recommends for the nation:
- Provide clarity on emissions ceilings for livestock farming in 2030 and 2050, and translate this into a system of emission rights that will be reduced over time.
- Adopt a food policy that will help reduce animal protein consumption to no more than 40 percent of total protein consumption by 2030.
- Work with value chain parties to support healthy and sustainable production and consumption and to develop the market for plant-based protein products.
While these goals may seem difficult to attain, the reality is they won’t be all that hard to achieve if everyone plays their part! After all, even small changes on an individual level can make a huge impact. Did you know, for example, that by leaving meat off your plate for a single year, you can cut your personal carbon footprint in HALF?! Just imagine the planet-benefiting effects we would enjoy if everyone gave up their cheeseburgers!
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