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Amsterdam – 65 scientists from 11 different countries called on mayors across the globe to reduce meat in their canteens, in order to tackle the climate emergency.
Among them is Filipino scientist, Dr. Vincent V. Hilomen of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, who has been studying the impact of climate change on fish and fisheries. Vulnerable sectors in Philippine cities and municipalities are among the first to feel the impacts of the climate emergency, including farming and fishing communities.
The call was welcomed by Greenpeace Philippines. “Industrial meat production and consumption is a double whammy for our small farmers and fisherfolk. Aside from their source of livelihood being exploited, the carbon emissions from the livestock industry is among the greatest contributors to fueling the impacts of the climate crisis, making droughts and storms harsher. This is a welcome call from scientists. The potential efforts from cities and municipalities will be a boon to those who produce the country’s food,” said Virginia Benosa-Llorin, campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.
Pete Smith, Professor at the University of Aberdeen and Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has spearheaded the scientists’ joint call to action that was published today. Among the many prominent voices gathered is also Canadian scientist and broadcaster, David Suzuki. Together, they are calling for the reduced consumption of livestock products to greatly lower the environmental impacts of food production and benefit human health: “To create a future that is healthy for both citizens and the planet, we call on Mayors today to reduce meat in the meals served in our canteens and to increase the share of plant-based foods.”    
Currently, livestock emissions, including impacts from deforestation for feed production, already account for 14.5% of direct global greenhouse gas emissions, as much as all as cars, trains, ships and airplanes combined. If no sufficient steps are taken, this could grow even further.
Professor Pete Smith said: “Eating less meat and dairy in our growing cities is a way to address the climate emergency. Cities can play a crucial role in helping citizens to reduce their consumption of livestock products, and to enable the changes necessary to meet ambitious climate change targets.”
Greenpeace International spokesperson Reyes Tirado said: “The greenhouse gas footprint of plant-based foods is up to 100 times less than of animal products. Shifting to plant-based foods is also a way to help protect the world’s forests, such as the Amazon. By decreasing the bulk demand for meat, and thus also for feed, cities can make a tremendous difference regarding their carbon and deforestation footprint. We can still limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, but we need quick action.”
Frontrunner cities, such as the host city of this year’s C40 World Mayors Summit, Copenhagen, show that such a shift is doable. The city recently passed a new food strategy that aims at cutting emissions by at least 25% by 2025 via meat reduction and increase of plant based food.
Reyes Tirado said: “Mayors are in charge of millions of meals every day. They should do everything in their power to create a healthy future for both citizens and the planet.”
Hundreds of cities will take part in the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact annual gathering in Montpellier, France (October 7-9), and the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark (October 9-12). Building on the call to action from scientists, Greenpeace urges city leaders to take the opportunity and publicly commit to changing city food policies and significantly reduce the amount of meat served in public canteens.
Scientists’ call to action: https://www.scientists4lessmeat.org
 Bajželj B., Richards K.S., Allwood J.M., Smith P., Dennis J.S., Curmi E. & Gilligan C.A. 2014. The importance of food demand management for climate mitigation. Nature Climate Change 4, 924–929.
 Gerber, P.J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A. & Tempio, G. 2013. Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.
 The appeal is also supported by other renowned scientists such as Stanford University professor Rodolfo Dirzo, McGill University professor Elena Bennet, Oregon State University professor William Ripple, emeritus professor at AgroParisTech Marc Dufumier and University of the Philippines professor Vincent Hilomen.
Reyes Tirado is Senior Scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratory at the University of Exeter, UK.
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In the Philippines:
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