ProVeg in Washington: Cutting Meat is Necessary for Fighting Climate Change
ProVeg International told participants of the AIM for Climate Summit in Washington, D.C., that one long-term solution to climate change is reducing animal…
ProVeg International told participants of the AIM for Climate Summit in Washington, D.C., that one long-term solution to climate change is reducing animal stocks and public meat consumption.
“It’s vital to shift the focus away from technical fixes to the animal industry”
At the recent summit, private and public sector stakeholders gathered to explore climate-focused innovation and investment strategies to combat climate change in the food and agriculture industries.
At the event, ProVeg seized the opportunity to emphasize the importance of alternative proteins as the most effective way to reduce the impact of animal agriculture: GHG emissions, air and water pollution, soil erosion, land occupation, zoonotic diseases, and biodiversity loss, among others. A recent GINA report also emphasizes that investing in alt proteins helps to reduce methane emissions and create new jobs.
Animal agriculture, especially livestock such as cows and sheep, contributes 32% of global methane emissions. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, traps more heat in the atmosphere per molecule than carbon dioxide (CO2), making it 80 times more harmful than CO2 for 20 years after it is released.
This alarming statistic has caused business owners, scientists, and decision-makers, to invest in technologies that can help reduce livestock methane emissions and, thus, the environmental impact of their operations.
Proposed solutions, such as vaccinations, selective breeding, and feed additives like seaweed, are gaining traction, with climate capital propelling these technologies.
Technical fixes, not solutions
But ProVeg International warns that these ‘technical fixes’ to reduce methane from cows and sheep will be less effective in reducing methane in the long run.
Instead, the food awareness organization urges shifting away from animal-based diets to alt proteins and plant-based foods, saying they emit half the amount of greenhouse gases, reducing methane in the long term — a goal essential in fighting climate change.
Raphaël Podselver, director of UN Affairs at ProVeg International, said: “Most potential solutions have not yet reached the market and might be still years away from doing so. As they still are in development, they can not be used at scale.”
Moreover, Podselver said that the industry could use such fixes to claim false reductions in methane emissions.
Protein diversification, instead
In a statement, ProVeg shared its views on the lack of efficiency of these tech fixes as long-term solutions:
Vaccinations: A tech that targets the microorganisms that create methane in the rumen offers the potential to reduce methane emissions but to a limited amount, argues ProVeg. Studies in Australia have shown mixed results, and others have shown higher methane emissions after vaccination.
Selective breeding in sheep: This proposed fix has shown a reduction of methane emissions by 10% over three generations. However, it is not an immediate solution to the climate crisis.
Seaweed used in feed: This has the potential to reduce methane by up to 80%, but most studies using seaweed involved small numbers of animals and a maximum duration of six months. Also, there are potential risks to health and the environment of using seaweed.
“It’s vital to shift the focus away from technical fixes to the animal industry and to look instead at the ways we can unlock the potential of protein diversification, be that through research and development, marketing, greater public procurement or education campaigns,” Podselver said.plant-based gathered alternative proteins meat protein alternative alt investing stocks investment industry