15 Oct 2019, 12:22
Julian Wettengel

Europe must cut meat production to increase forest areas for climate - researchers

Clean Energy Wire

Large-scale afforestation and reforestation, which could be necessary in Europe to reach climate targets, is virtually impossible to achieve without moving away from land-intensive agriculture such as meat production, said a study conducted by researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and other institutions and published in Environmental Research Letters. Europe will fail to play its role in global efforts to limit climate change without utilising land beyond its borders if the continent does not change its food production and consumption, write the researchers. “While technological improvements (through yield and irrigation efficiency improvements) may be achievable in some regions of Europe, shifting to diets with less or no meat consumption will be most critical and challenging in practice.”

Trees extract the greenhouse gas CO2 from the atmosphere by building up biomass and thus combat global warming. Over the last few months, Germany’s forests have shifted into the focus of the country’s climate policy efforts. At a national forest summit in September, agriculture minister Julia Klöckner pledged more than 500 million euros from the federal government for the conversion of Germany's forests, which are suffering from the past years' storms, droughts, forest fires and bark beetle infestations.

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