published : 2023-11-28

United Nations Calls on Americans to Reduce Meat Consumption

GOP Chairman: 'World Needs American Farmers and Ranchers More than the UN'

Agricultural landscape with American farmers working in their fields, embracing sustainable practices. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

A lead United Nations agency overseeing food and agriculture policy is expected to issue a road map calling on the West, including America, to dramatically reduce its meat consumption.

The UN's Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) will publish its global food systems' road map during the upcoming COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

The road map will recommend nations that "over-consume meat" to limit their consumption as part of a broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The failure of leading meat and dairy companies to reduce emissions underlines the urgent need for more policy focus on the food and agriculture sector," says Jeremy Coller, chairman of the FAIRR Initiative.

Close-up of a plate with a delicious plant-based meal, showcasing the variety and flavor of meat alternatives. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The FAO's road map seeks to guide policy on lowering the climate impact of the agriculture industry, which generates about 34% of total worldwide emissions.

In addition to reducing meat consumption, the FAO will highlight how farmers can tackle emissions produced from food waste and fertilizer use.

However, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson believes that American farmers and ranchers are essential in addressing global climate change.

Thompson argues that regulating producers in the US out of business will not effectively address climate change, instead suggesting exporting production to foreign countries with worse emissions profiles.

A group of international delegates discussing agricultural emissions reduction strategies at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. (Taken with Sony Alpha A7R IV)

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, US farmers have significantly reduced emissions in pork and beef production.

The FAO's recommendations will not be binding, and the US COP28 delegation may choose to sign onto them.

Overall, the FAO hopes that its road map will catalyze the transition to a more sustainable food system and contribute to addressing climate change.