Europeans need to eat less beef and consume less dairy products in order to reach the EU’s climate goals, according to a new study by Swedish researchers.
“Reductions, by 50 percent or more, in ruminant meat (beef and mutton) consumption are, most likely, unavoidable if the EU targets are to be met,” according to the findings published in the Food Policy journal.
But Stefan Wirsenius, one of the authors of the study written by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the SP Technical Research Institute, said there was no need to give up meat completely.
“Poultry and pork cause quite low emissions,” he said.
Dairy products are also problematic, according to the study. Producing 1 kilogram of protein from dairy results in emissions four times greater than for an equivalent amount of poultry.
“EU and US consumption of cheese and other dairy products is among the highest in the world. If we were to replace some of the dairy with vegetable products, such as oat milk, we would have a better chance of meeting our climate targets,” Wirsenius said.
The European Union wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, when compared with levels from 1990.