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A has source revealed to Plant Based News that the report, by Committee on Climate Change (CCC), will go public next week.
It will say that the UK will miss its 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent unless dietary habits change to include less ruminant animals including cows and sheep.
‘Consumption drives emissions’
According to the Sunday Times, the report says that ‘cutting meat production in the UK would be pointless if it was instead simply grown abroad and imported’ – so people must change their diets.
“It is consumption that drives emissions,” it adds. “As such, changing dietary patterns in the UK culture would be fundamental to this pathway, with a change from ruminant meat products to pig or poultry meat or plant-based diets.”
‘Not the best way’
Some meat bosses have denied that meat reducing is the way forward: last month, Jago Pearson of Finnebrogue Sausage Manufacturers told Sky News that he thinks telling people to stop eating meat altogether ‘would be the wrong approach’.
“We’ve seen meat eaters having one or two days off, and move to vegetarian or vegan alternatives,” he said. “I don’t. It’s by no means the best option. If you look at maize, if you look at soy, they have huge environmental impacts as well.
“The rest of the meat industry might not thank me for saying this but I do think we need to do more as an industry to cut down on the intensity at which we farm particularly cattle and pigs.
“But the idea we say to consumers that actually they should stop eating meat altogether would be the wrong approach. The right approach would be to offer consumer choice and to continue to improve our means of sustainable farming.”
Vegan diet is best
But this flies in the face of recent science, including the most comprehensive study on food production ever undertaken – Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers – which was published earlier this year, and said that cutting meat and dairy is the most significant step people can take to reduce their impact.
“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” lead researcher Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, told The Guardian at the time of publishing the report.
“It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car. Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems.
“Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”