Ludicrous claim: Eat 40% less meat to fight “global warming”
The great global increase in the consumption of foods based on animal meat is unnecessary and insane, says a new report.
A study by the World Studies Institute, a Washington-based organization, says that by 2050, people can only eat 1.5 hamburgers a week and will have to accept eating genetically modified products, which according to the study, improve productivity.
All this, says the study, must guarantee the feeding of 10 billion people and, at the same time, combat the ‘climate crisis’.
Fighting such a crisis requires drastic cuts in meat consumption by 2050, the study says.
This report warns that the global production system must face urgent changes to ensure that there is adequate food for all humanity, assuming the principles of sustainable development and the very limits of the planet.
The research, made available to governments, includes a broad list of measures to respond to the three major challenges of the food system by 2050: the need to increase food production, avoid unbridled agricultural expansion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector, which is the study says, contributes a quarter of the total of all emissions as determined by the Paris Agreement against climate change.
Current demands for food and meat consumption show unsustainable trends, the study says. By 2050 it would be necessary to increase its production by 50% and 70% respectively. The study falsely claims that the need for new land would require expanding the cultivable hectares to an area equivalent to twice the size of India.
“The addiction to meat from ruminant animals”, it states, “is especially striking: it is on track to increase its consumption by 88% by 2050”.
“The great global increase in the consumption of foods based on animal meat is unnecessary and insane,” says the report.
It is argued that half of the world’s population already consumes 50% more protein than necessary, while plant proteins can already cover these calories very efficiently.
Fruits, vegetables and legumes have a much more efficient environmental behavior than meat production, as they generate up to 13 times less CO2, says the study.
If consumers change their habits by 30% and opt for a more vegetarian diet, it would be possible to cover half of the emission reduction objectives and avoid the expansion of arable land.
This would mean that 2 billion people in countries around the world need to reduce their meat consumption by 40%. It’s as if your diet could only include 1.5 hamburgers a week. They want western countries to reduce meat consumption to levels seen in malnourished countries in Africa.
The report, which has the endorsement of the United Nations Environment Program and the World Bank, points out the advantages of reducing food waste by 25%: this would reduce food needs by 12%, and the urgency of new arable land and 15% mitigation actions of greenhouse gases.
The text recommends to increase productivity by providing better quality feed to animals, improve land management by adapting crops to climate change, protect ecosystems, restore forests, wetlands and peatlands, increase aquaculture, improve access to health education for women and deploy a wide range of actions to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector.
“We have to increase yields dramatically, at a faster rate than we have historically,” said Tim Searchinger, lead author of the report. “We must achieve it through smarter crops.”
Endorsement of Transgenic Crops
The report endorses genetically modified crops as an aid to feed a population, despite the controversy that has accompanied them so far.
Much of the debate has focused on the use of corn or modified Bt cotton or glyphosate herbicide, and in particular the risk that these pesticides, insecticide and herbicides respectively, can cause resistance to weeds, worms or insects.
However, the report indicates that thanks to the new techniques of insertion of genes, crops can be more efficient and resistant to pests or droughts and floods.
“There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms have directly damaged the health of the planet,” the lead author says, as he conveniently omits that GMOs have been proven to cause cancer and other diseases.
He also believes that modern gene insertion systems can help meet environmental challenges by making crops more efficient, capable of absorbing nitrogen from the earth or producing less methane.
However, genetic modification, according to critics, has serious limitations; and, in addition, research funds would be better used for other purposes.
The report is “too optimistic” about the potential of technology, said Bill Freese, a scientific policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety.
As proof that it is unnecessary and too expensive, notes a 2014 Report published in the scientific journal Nature according to which the traditional crop is faster than that caused by genetic engineering in the development of drought-resistant corn.
“It is easy to say that we put all the meat on the grill, but the reality is that we must take into account the successes or failures,” he said. “Public sector funds are very limited. At some point, we have to ask ourselves if we should keep trying. ”