Changing climate, changing diets: Pathways to lower meat consumption
The authors of this report (PDF) by Chatham House argue that governments must lead in shifting attitudes and behaviors of consumers to lower meat consumption. According to the report, reduction in global meat consumption is key to mitigating climate change and keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius. Global meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are at all-time highs. The livestock sector accounts for 15 percent of all emissions, the equivalent to the emissions of all vehicles worldwide. If global citizens reduced meat consumption, it would result in over one-fourth of the emission reductions needed by 2050, which is necessary to keep global warming limited. In spite of a compelling case for addressing meat consumption and shifting diets, governments fear the repercussions of intervention, while low public awareness means they feel little pressure to intervene. However, according to the report governments overestimate the risk of public backlash. Governments are thus missing a key opportunity for climate mitigation. Governments should spearhead efforts to address unsustainable consumption of meat and show that the government takes this issue seriously.
Also see this expert comment of Laura Wellesly, one of the authors of the report.