November 9, 2021


Possible to continue eating meat while staying within safe limits on global warming, says US agriculture secretary


US residents can continue consuming meat while keeping the world within safe limits on global warming, said US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.


"I do not think we have to reduce the amount of meat or livestock produced in the US. And a significant percentage is exported. It's not a question of eating more or less or producing more or less. The question is making production more sustainable," Vilsack said.


He told The Guardian in an interview at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the United Kingdom, that livestock production could be made more efficient, and the amount of methane produced by farm animals reduced, which, along with other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, would be enough to reduce carbon from farming.


The United States, the European Union and other countries signed a deal at COP26 to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030, though none of the countries have taken on a firm national reduction goal under the deal. If the target is reached, global warming could be reduced by about 0.2C.


"If you reduce methane by livestock by 30%, by food additives or different feed, or you capture the methane to biogas – take the manure and use it as biofuel – then you have made livestock production more sustainable. I do not think you need to reduce meat consumption to get that," Vilsack added.


"If we are going to feed nine billion people, you need meat protein. We will need plant, animal and fish protein."


He said the US was financing demonstration projects for new technology and farming methods that would reduce methane.


- The Guardian