On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved the climate resolution “2050 – The future begins today.” I had negotiated for the Left group, GUE/NGL, and for some time prospects looked good. When the climate committee approved the resolution in December, we made the EU’s emissions limits stricter, requiring a 40% reduction in emissions by2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. Those limits remain in the document approved on Wednesday but, unfortunately, many of the requirements placed on the meat industry were deleted.
After the climate committee’s vote in December, negotiations between the various party groupings began, as is always the case before plenary sessions on major issues. All of the party groupings were agreed that there would be no changes made in the requirements placed on the meat industry. In particular, this was true of the formulations in paragraph 109, which read:
“…recognises that the cultivation of cereals and soya as feed for livestock is responsible for substantial greenhouse gas emissions; recalls the report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in November 2006, which states that the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions; considers that a switch from intensive livestock production to extensive sustainable systems should be encouraged while total meat consumption also needs to be reduced, in particular in industrialised countries.”
The part in bold print above was, unfortunately, stricken (the paragraph in the revised version was given the number 118). Naturally, it is positive that the parliament still acknowledges that the meat industry represents a huge climate issue. But it is most unfortunate, and altogether too typical, that the parliament lacks the nerve to demand that the most obvious measure be taken; that is, that meat consumption be decreased.
Paragraph 119 requires measures regarding concentrated feed. That, in any case, was the idea behind the formulation. Because of compromises made for the plenary vote, this paragraph did not turn out as well as it could have either. It now reads:
”…calls for feed in dairy and meat production to be reviewed, and where necessary improved, with the aim of achieving a reduction in methane formation in the rumen of ruminants…”
Nevertheless, I thank the 162 MEPs who voted in favor of a reduction in meat consumption.
The resolution can be read here: climateresol_florenz_en1.doc