EU needs to reduce cows to reduce methane emissions to agreed at COP26 climate conference (study)

The European Union will have difficulty meeting its methane reduction targets if it does not reduce livestock in the region, according to a new study published on Tuesday, Bloomberg reports.

The EU bloc will “have difficulty” in meeting its commitments under the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 for one of its most powerful greenhouse gases, according to a report by EC Delft consultancy for the NGO Changing Markets Foundation.

According to the quoted source, if the community bloc succeeds in convincing 10% of the citizens to switch to a diet that contains less meat and dairy products, then a reduction of 34% would be achieved.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture remains a taboo subject in Europe, where governments prefer to focus on reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel or waste production, writes Agerpres. Raising animals, especially cattle, is responsible for about half of the agricultural sector’s environmental footprint.

Thermal power plant carbon emissions
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture remains a taboo subject in Europe, where governments prefer to focus on reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel or waste production. Photo: Profimedia Images

“Agriculture is Achilles’ heel for Europe’s methane strategy. Methane emissions from EU farms are equivalent to total emissions for 50 coal-fired power plants and yet policies that would lead to significant reductions by encouraging the transition to healthier diets with less meat and dairy are completely absent from EU plans. “, Says Nusa Urbancic, campaign manager at Changing Markets.

Under the current business-as-usual scenario, methane emissions from cattle would be reduced by less than 4% by 2030, but switching to a less meat-rich diet would lead to a 30-38% discount, studies show.

By comparison, the energy sector is responsible for around 13% of EU methane emissions and therefore measures in this sector could have a limited effect if similar measures are not taken globally.

More than 100 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge, unveiled last year at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Instead, regulations announced last year by the EU on reducing methane emissions have sidelined the agricultural sector, opting to focus on methane emissions from oil and gas production.

Editor: Raul Nețoiu

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