08 Apr 2021, 12:38
Julian Wettengel

With right food choices, Germans could halve their diets' climate footprint – WWF

Clean Energy Wire

A more vegetarian or vegan diet could halve Germans’ diets’ greenhouse gas emissions, shows a report commissioned by environmental NGO WWF Germany. If the German population ate according to the recommendations of the “Planetary Health Diet” and halved meat consumption and ate more vegetables and nuts, it would already emit 56 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents less per year. In 2020, Germany emitted a total of 739 million tonnes CO2 eq in all sectors. The Planetary Health Diet was developed by a group of scientists, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health, and attempts to present a healthy diet from a sustainable food system. For the calculation of the scenarios, WWF considered only the change in the consumption quantity per food. The underlying material flows, i.e. the agricultural production method, the means of transport, the processing and the food waste produced, but also the geographical origins, were left the same in the scenarios in order to be able to depict the influence of the change in diet alone on the environmental impacts.

NGOs, politicians and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) have long criticised that Germany’s diet is too meat-heavy and climate-damaging. NGOs said the government must set a framework that can both support citizens to reduce their meat consumption and gear 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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