Knowledge for better food systems

How Low Can We Go?

The Food Climate Research Network and WWF-UK have published a new report – How Low Can We Go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope for reduction by 2050 – that quantifies the UK’s food carbon footprint - taking into account emissions from land use change - and explores a range of scenarios for achieving a 70% cut in food related greenhouse gas emissions.

Previous estimates by the FCRN and others have found that the food chain accounts for around 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, this newly published report finds that, once food related land use change impacts are included in the calculation, the contribution from food rises to 30% of the UK total. The new report assesses various scenarios for achieving a radical 70% cut in emissions from food. Both technological and behavioural initiatives are examined, including decarbonisation of the energy used in the food chain, improved efficiencies, and changes in the consumption of meat and dairy products. The report concludes that no one solution can reduce emissions by 70%. Both technological improvements and changes in our eating habits – a reduction in the consumption of meat and dairy products - will be needed. FCRN and WWF-UK are urging Government and industry decision makers to recognise that a focus on technology is not enough – food consumption patterns need to change too. See the coverage on the WWF website.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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