The new IPCC report is a dire reminder of the need to rapidly reduce intensive animal farming and shift to plant-based diets
The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presented on 28 February, reiterates that the scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. IPCC concludes that the brief window to secure a liveable future is rapidly closing.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), stressed that we see the effects of climate change already at 1.1°C of global warming and, as things stand, we are heading towards a disastrous 3°C of global warming.
The IPCC report recognises the interdependence of climate, ecosystems, biodiversity and human society. A resolution that recognises the link between environment, sustainable development and animal welfare is proposed by a group of African countries to be adopted at the ongoing United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5.2). The resolution outlines how the exploitation and use of animals is a key driver of the triple environmental crises of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution, as well as pandemics. Eurogroup for Animals promotes this initiative and calls on all Member States to support it.
For too long, animal protection has been absent from the conversation around the climate emergency. Intensive livestock farming negatively affects the environment, drives deforestation and biodiversity loss. It represents a significant share of the greenhouse gas emissions, of which methane is a potent driver of global warming. Because methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon emissions, cutting methane emissions by limiting the number of livestock and a shift to plant-based diets is a way to quick climate change mitigation.
Even if we succeed in eliminating fossil fuel emissions, emissions from the current global food system, heavy in animal protein, would leave the 1.5°C target out of reach. It would even make it difficult to stay below 2°C of global warming. It is clear that climate change mitigation must involve public policies that support a reduction in livestock numbers and a dietary shift to plant-based diets to rapidly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and give us a chance to limit the worst consequences.
The new IPCC report is a stark reminder of the urgent need for strong and swift political action for food system transformation.
Learn more in our brochure Protecting Animals to Protect the Planet.