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(Daily Caller)—The United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an agency headed by a former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official, issued a Sunday report calling for decreased meat consumption in developed countries and other sweeping changes to agriculture in order to fight climate change.
The report, released ahead of the UN climate summit’s conclusion, calls on policymakers to substantially alter agricultural markets in order to fight climate change and align the agricultural system with the climate agenda. The FAO is led by Qu Dongyu, the CCP’s former vice minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, who has been accused of using his post at a global institution to advance Beijing’s specific interests, according to Politico.
“Providing healthy food for all, today and tomorrow, is crucial; as is aligning agrifood systems transformation with climate actions,” the FAO report states. “Agrifood systems should address food security and nutrition needs, but they host a large number of actions aligned with mitigation, adaptation and resilience objectives. Simultaneously, the climate agenda could mobilize climate finance to unlock the potential of these systems and drive their transformation.”
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The report asserts that individuals in wealthier nations can gain from reduced meat consumption by improving their health and helping fight climate change, poorer countries would benefit from increasing their protein consumption. One way to better align agriculture with climate goals is “increasing productivity and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product through better livestock genetics well adapted to existing and future climate conditions,” according to the report.
“Nobody actually takes him seriously: It’s not him; it’s China,” a former UN official told Politico of Dongyu and his relationship with CCP officials. “I’m not convinced he would make a single decision without first checking it with the capital.”
The report urges policymakers to “change the livestock population to match not only nutritional needs but also environmental opportunities and constraints” and to shift away from large livestock animals, like cows, in favor of smaller ones, like sheep or chicken, for meat production. The report also calls for policy to “change consumer behavior regarding portion size and nudge towards responsible decisions by food sellers and consumers” and to “change food and beverages taxes and subsidies to provide consumers with an economic and rational decision-making justification for change.”
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The FAO concludes that livestock production accounts directly for 26% of all emissions caused by agricultural activity, a figure which can jump up to about 50% when considering upstream and downstream emissions. In the absence of sweeping government action, the FAO estimates that global livestock production could see its emissions increase by 40% by 2050.
The new FAO report is the first of three papers to be released by the body, with the next two to come at the next UN climate summits, known as COP29 and COP30, according to its text. The COP29 report will focus on laying out regional roadmaps for transforming the global agricultural system, and the COP30 report will set out plans for specific countries, as well as systems for emissions monitoring and “accountability.”
Representatives for the UN and the FAO did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
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