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Cutting meat consumption by 50% essential for France’s climate goals and public health

March 4, 2024

Food awareness organization, ProVeg International, has welcomed the release of a study by the French Climate Action Network (Réseau Action Climat) and the French Society For Nutrition (Société Française de Nutrition), shedding light on the critical need to reduce meat consumption to combat climate change.

The report, How to Reconcile Nutrition and Climate (Comment concilier nutrition et climat?), found that reducing meat consumption by 50% is necessary for France to achieve its climate objectives and would improve the health of the population. With nearly a quarter of France’s emissions stemming from food production and a staggering 80% of agriculture emissions attributed to raising livestock, the study highlights the outsized contribution of French animal agriculture to climate change.

“This report is an excellent contribution to research on the role that animal agriculture plays in climate change," said Jasmijn de Boo, Global CEO, ProVeg International. "Globally, animal agriculture accounts for around 20% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s an issue that needs to be considered in any policy discussion.”

France has already publicly committed to lowering its agriculture emissions by 46% by 2050, and the study’s recommendations on livestock and animal agriculture provide an excellent roadmap for government action.

The new study states that the French population consumes twice as much meat as the global average but modeling by the research team reveals that it is possible to halve meat consumption without resorting to enriched products or supplements.

The study found that reducing animal products while transitioning to a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains, allows individuals to meet nutritional requirements while also mitigating the risk of certain diseases. Moreover, such dietary changes would significantly diminish the environmental footprint associated with food production.

“In a 2023 ProVeg and Smart Protein survey, over 58% of French respondents reported they’re already reducing their meat intake and incorporating more plant-based foods into their diets, primarily for health and environmental reasons. The new study reaffirms this, and I hope French policymakers will follow their guidance,” de Boo concluded.

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