Knowledge for better food systems

Policy guide to reducing GHGs of US diets by 2030

This policy guide from the US nonprofit Centre for Biological Diversity calls for US federal, state and municipal policymakers to take immediate steps to reduce beef consumption by up to 90% and consumption of all other animal products by 50%. It draws on the research Implications of Future US Diet Scenarios on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

The policy recommendations include:

  • Incorporate sustainability into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, specifically by recommending a reduction of animal production consumption, particularly beef, and an increase in plant-based food consumption instead.
  • Increase the availability of plant-based foods in school lunches.
  • End subsidies that encourage overproduction of meat and dairy, and support organic and plant-based agriculture instead.
  • Create food policy councils in each state with clear sustainability goals.
  • Increase funding and technical support for farmers’ markets, community gardens and urban agriculture to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • At the municipal level, adopt procurement policies that reduce meat and dairy purchases and integrate sustainable diets into climate action plans.

Read the full guide, Appetite for Change: A Policy Guide to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Diets by 2030, here. See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect land-use and biodiversity?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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