Reading Time: 2 minutes We can end animal agriculture in 15 years, and it will significantly help fight climate change, he urges Credit: World Economic Forum / Mattias Nutt
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, Patrick Brown, has stressed the importance of abandoning animal agriculture if we are to meet global net-zero targets. 

The comments came at a COP26 press conference. Here, Brown called for further “dramatic” action despite pledges made by member countries.

Despite multiple promises, such as the Global Methane Pledge and plans to end deforestation, Brown strained that they fall short to “meaningfully” mitigate the current climate crisis trajectory.

Impossible Foods’ Patrick Brown

Brown explained the difference between emissions from fossil fuels and those caused by animal agriculture.

While around a third of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) currently in the atmosphere are caused by such animal farming, they are “completely reversible.” And much of it comes from deforestation caused by land clearing to make way for cattle farming.

But thankfully, Brown says if we restore this land, the CO2 emissions can be converted back into biomass.

He told attendees: “If we could phase out animal ag in the next 15 years, we would unlock negative emissions sufficient to create a 30-year pause. 

“…And through the end of the century, the negative emissions on animal agriculture land would offset about 68 percent of total GHGs.” And that’s if we do “nothing” about fossil fuel emissions.

Animal agriculture has grave consequences on the environment

Brown claims that if we end animal agriculture, we will be able to “turn back the clock” environmentally to the year 2000.

And, Impossible Foods is the answer. Because, it has the technology to not only analog meat, but make animal products “obsolete.”

This can also provide an opportunity for farmers to become climate “heroes” in ditching animal farming for plant-based foods. And, it can be achieved in making the land richer for regrowing.

COP26: a step in the right direction?

Alongside Brown on the panel was Raphael Podseiver, of ProVeg International, a non-governmental organization working to reduce the consumption of animal products. 

Podseiver acknowledged COP26 pledges as a “step in the right direction”. But, criticized how animal agriculture’s impact had been left off the shelf at this year’s event.

Additionally, Hsin Ling Liang of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation joined the pair to discuss cultural elements of environmentalism.

The religious group has helped thousands of people understand plant-based diets and its compassionate connections.

“We hope to see plant-rich diets clearly featured on next year’s COP agenda,” Podseiver urged.

This is in order to meet targets to keep global warming beneath 1.5°C by 2040. What’s needed, Podseiver announced, is a meat reduction of 74 percent in Europe alone.

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.