The average person eats 21 meals a week. According to a new plan to combat climate change, 17 of those will be government-mandated as meat-free. Targets set by the plan would limit weekly consumption of beef would be limited to 1/4 pound. Chicken and ham would be similarly limited, with four modest servings of meat available throughout a week.
The report, sponsored by the University of Surrey, U.K., called for a return to old-fashioned cooking and shopping habits, such as walking to stores, buying only local produce, eating leftovers, and cooking in bulk, so that several meals can be prepared at once. More controversially, the report suggests people should "accept different notions of quality" in regards to food consumption, so that foods we now discard or use for animal feed can instead be directed to human consumption.
Drastic reductions in consumption of alcohol, dairy products, and sweets were also part of the plan.
The report's author, Tara Garnett, noted that voluntary campaigns were "doomed to fail" and strongly urged governments to mandate compliance through carbon trading and caps on greenhouse gas emissions. Ms. Garnett, who says "we cannot assume [the consumer] will necessarily make the right choice", advocates large-scale government intervention to ensure targets are met.
An investigation in the October edition of the Ecologist magazine advocated the developed world cut its meat consumption in half as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, also recently suggested people go at least partially vegetarian.
The report found that a fifth of all emissions were the result of the food sector, a value larger than that from the combined transportation sector. The majority of those emissions were from meat production.
Ms. Garnett is a research fellow at the Center for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey.