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29 Mar 2021, 13:54
Charlotte Nijhuis

German meat consumption needs to be halved to reduce emissions – Environment Agency

Hamburger Abendblatt

Germany’s meat consumption needs to be reduced by half in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) Dirk Messner told the Hamburger Abendblatt in an interview. He also also argued that the agricultural reform currently being discussed by the EU needs to include the reduction of factory farming. "We need to reduce factory farming so that excessive nitrogen emissions are cut and soils, water, biodiversity and human health are less affected," he said. To achieve this, he explained that Germans need to change their diet and consumption patterns by buying less and better-quality meat. Messner also called for a rapid expansion of e-car charging points, saying Germany is currently lacking 80 percent of the required charging stations for 2030. “We want to have 12 to 14 million e-cars on the road by 2030, but we currently don't even have a fifth of the infrastructure that would be needed,” he added. At the same time, Germany needs to expand its renewable electricity by a factor of 2.5, measured against the pace of the last five years, in order to achieve its renewables goal by 2030, Messner said.

Earlier this year, German NGOs called for major changes to industrial meat production in order to reduce climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. The government must set a framework that can both support citizens to reduce their meat consumption and also orient production towards better quality and animal welfare, they said in the “Meat Atlas 2021” which compiles data on meat production and consumption. Meat consumption in Germany averages 60 kg per person per year, compared to 100 kg in Australia and the US and 50 kg in China. In African countries the average is 17 kg.

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