German agency meats out advice
Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on January 23, 2009
The EPA’s approximate German counterpart, the Federal Environmental Agency, recommended that citizens reduce their meat consumption and move toward a more Mediterranean diet. The agency cited health reasons, but also noted the impact it would have on the nation’s carbon footprint. It’ll be interesting to see if a broader information campaign emerges and to what degree it influences behavior. For reference, Germans eat about two-thirds as much meat as the average consumer in America, France, and Spain as of 2002.
The major issues are the energy intensity of livestock production (lots of energy is wasted in processing plant matter using an animal’s digestive system) as well as the potent GHG emissions by the animals themselves:
I think making this information more prominent would be useful — even a small lifestyle change could make a substantial difference. Still, I can’t imagine an American agency going after livestock farmers — even Oprah couldn’t get away with it.
H/T: Mark Bittman (great NYTimes food blog if you haven’t seen it).