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Less Meat, Less Heat - IPCC chairman insists on eating less meat

August 31, 2008

Press Release

Gent, Belgium. On Saturday, Rachendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Nobel Peace prize winner, lectured at length about the effects of meat consumption on climate change.

Dr. Pachauri was invited by the Belgian vegetarian organisation EVA and addressed more than 600 people at the University of Ghent. The event was called "Less Meat, Less Heat" and was organized together with Greenpeace Belgium and WWF Belgium.

Dr Pachauri said that in order to counter climate change, lifestyle changes are very important. One of the potentially most beneficial lifestyle changes, according to the IPCC president, would be the switch to a diet with less meat and more vegetarian meals.

Addressing his Belgian audience, Dr. Pachauri made the following comparison: if during one year, all Belgians would just have one meatless day a week, this would have the same beneficial effect on greenhouse gas emission as taking almost one million cars off the Belgian roads for an entire year.

Dr. Pachauri said meat production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to emission of methane from ruminants (cows, sheep and goats), emissions from manure, and the effects of deforestation for cattle grazing and animal feed. He also pointed out that producing a kilogram of beef requires about 15.000 liters of water.

Dr. Pachauri ended his talk by a quote from Gandhi: 'be the change you want to see in the world'. He said we each need to take our responsibility and can create a big effect by individual actions, decreasing our meat intake being one of them.

After the talk, Tobias Leenaert of vegetarian organisation EVA presented five policy recommendations for meat reduction, signed by about 20 environmental NGOs, among whom Greenpeace Belgium and WWF Belgium.

Leenaert: "A lower meat intake would be beneficial on many levels, not just on climate change and other environmental problems, but also on public health, the world hunger problem. and animal welfare. Still, government and politicians are currently not taking this issue seriously."

The policy recommendations include setting a good example by offering sustainable vegetarian food in government funded restaurants, focusing more on sustainable food in school lunch programmes and education in general, a government campaign about the benefits of eating less meat, and making the production and sale of sustainable food products more profitable, among others.

Tobias Leenaert
00)32 (0)494/64.69.38
St.-Pietersnieuwstraat 130,
9000 Gent, Belgium

Source: EVA
Author: EVA

Link: Defra project report IS0205: Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities.
Link: Going veggie can slash your carbon footprint: study/Giving up meat could drastically reduce your carbon footprint, with meat-eaters' diets responsible for almost twice the emissions of those of vegetarians, a German study said
Link: Less meat less heat - photos
Link: Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on Germany
Link: UN Chief Warns Against Waiting for Climate Deal

Date: 2008-09-01