Ahead of the 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, event organizers revealed their plan to instruct the world’s wealthiest nations to consume less meat to fight climate change. 

This month, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) is expected to unveil an inaugural “global food systems’ road map to 1.5C” to align agribusinesses with the Paris Climate Accords. 

Bloomberg reports that under the declaration, developed nations will need to eat less meat, and farmers in developing nations will be urged to “bolster [the]productivity of their livestock and supply more sustainably.”

The non-binding agreement, billed as the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, was endorsed by 134 countries—including the United States. 

“We affirm that agriculture and food systems must urgently adapt and transform in order to respond to the imperatives of climate change,” the declaration reads

​​The conference claims these signatories cumulatively boast the majority of the world’s population—5.7 billion people—and 500 million farmers that “produce 70 percent of the food we eat, and are responsible for 76 percent of all emissions from global food systems or 25 percent of total emissions globally.”

Americans consume 127 kilograms of meat annually; a commission recommends reducing U.S. meat intake to just 15.7 kilograms of meat annually.

But not everyone agrees with meat phaseouts in the name of carbon emissions reductions.

The Wall Street Journal wrote methane is a byproduct of bovine digestion and that cows can’t be reprogrammed to become “fuel efficient.” Changing a cow’s diet, the publication adds, would “impair the nutritional quality and taste of its meat and milk.” 

Over 1,000 scientists who put their names behind last year’s Dublin Declaration urged developed nations to not abandon agriculture and meat consumption. 

“Livestock-derived foods provide a variety of essential nutrients and other health-promoting compounds, many of which are lacking in diets globally, even among those populations with higher incomes,” the declaration noted. “The highest standards of bio-evolutionary, anthropological, physiological, and epidemiological evidence underscore that the regular consumption of meat, dairy and eggs, as part of a well-balanced diet is advantageous for human beings.”
Impractical proposals to regulate livestock production are plentiful. Ireland considered culling 200,000 cows to meet climate targets under the European Green Deal, but seems to be going nowhere, as of October 2023, due to backlash. I discussed the original plan here on the IWF website:

In November 2021, Ireland was urged to cull 1.3 million head of cattle to curb their carbon footprint. Their government claimed farming is responsible for 35% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions—the highest emitter in the EuropeanUnion (EU). This recommendation came after the Biden administration and EU announced support for the Global Methane Pledge. The agreement requires a commitment to taking “voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030” with the explicit goal of  eliminating “0.2˚C warming by 2050.”

In April 2022, the California Air Resources Board touted two “large” subsidy programs—the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the CA Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)—to capture methane from cows, positing that farmers should begin to “farm methane rather than milk.” One estimate shows these subsidies award nearly $2,000 a head

House Agriculture Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson has rebuked this line of attack by climate activists before and said, “There are no greater climate champions in the world than the American farmer, rancher, and forester.” 

To learn more about these efforts, read up HERE.