Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity and the planet.
From 6 – 17th November 2017, delegates from governments all over the world, as well as thousands of environmental protection experts and activists, will attend this year’s World Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany, to continue the process initiated at the Paris Climate Accord.
Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, deforestation, pollution, water consumption, habitat loss and species extinction, responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (14.5%) than the global transport sector – the world’s cars, planes, trains, ships – combined.
Yet it remains rarely, if ever, discussed by policymakers around the world. Livestock populations need to be reduced and a change in our dietary habits must be made, so that we can reduce the risks posed by climate change and protect our environment. According to the latest research, if consumers in the U.S., for example, made one simple dietary change – substituting beef with plant-based protein from beans, the country could achieve between 46 and 74% of their greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2020.1 This makes animal agriculture the low-hanging fruit of the Paris Climate Accord targets, and an important facet of any effective climate change mitigation strategy.
Politicians must introduce and prioritise food, particularly animal agriculture, on the global climate protection agenda. Starting in November 2017 at COP 23, policymakers must look beyond energy and transport sectors for climate savings, and open debate about the impact of global livestock production on our planet. We therefore call on the government of Germany, as the host nation for COP 23 in Bonn, to introduce and address this issue at the climate protection negotiations and to take it into account when formulating the German climate protection plan.
Who are ProVeg?
ProVeg International, an international food advocacy organisation, is your voice in creating a food system that is better for you, for animals and our planet.
ProVeg works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, plant-based economy and society, by working to influence government policy, public institutions, the food industry, and society as a whole. We appreciate every single step that individuals, organisations and institutions take to move towards a more plant-based lifestyle. To make all this a reality, a powerful movement is essential. That is why ProVeg is working to create a global community of committed supporters and advocates.
Be part of our movement and help us to put the topic of animal agriculture on the climate protection agenda. Thank you for caring!
The Climate Alliance Germany is a broad alliance of more than 100 civil society organisations, including BUND (Friends of the Earth – Germany), Oxfam and WWF. The Alliance is committed to creating a political framework that will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. As a member of the Climate Alliance Germany, ProVeg is committed to taking into account the considerable greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural livestock farming and works to sensitise other member organisations to the topic.
COP 23 is the World Climate Change Conference, which takes place this year in Bonn from 6 – 17th November. This is where the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet. The focus will be on how to implement the climate change agreement set in at the Paris edition of the Conference in 2015 (COP 21). This time, the Conference will be chaired by the Republic of Fiji, an island state that is severely threatened by climate change. Due to limited space, however, the conference will be hosted and organised by Germany.
The 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21) adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to limit global warming to “well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. This means that signatory states need to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors.
The fundamental climate problem is that animal products consume considerably more resources than plant-based products due to inefficient conversion of protein and high inputs of water and energy during their production, thereby causing more emissions.
The extent of the impact of agricultural livestock farming is far reaching and has a huge detrimental effect on our planet. One-third of the world’s grain harvest ends up in feed troughs for animals, instead of on people’s plates.2 Annual global meat production is over 300 million tonnes per year, and the trend is sharply increasing.3 Even if demand remained constant, the volume of meat produced must increase to around 455 million tonnes by 20504 in order to meet the needs of a growing population, which is simply not possible in view of the finite resources on our planet. If governments are to take the commitments of the Paris Agreement seriously, we need to adopt a radically different approach to food production.
2 FAO (2017): Crop Prospects and Food Situation. No. 1. Rome (March 2017). Online: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6903e.pdf [13.09.2017]
3 FAO (2017): FAOStat Statistics Database. Online: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL [13.09.2017]
4 FAO (2012): World agriculture towards 2030/2050 – The 2012 Revision. Online: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap106e/ap106e.pdf [13.09.2017]