The United Nations' Environment Programme wants people to eat less meat to help curb the tide of global warming.

UNEP's International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management are planning to release a report called "Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials." The European Commission, a UNEP partner, located in Brussels, is tied to the report as well.

The new report is the latest in a series from the 27 experts that constitute the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management.

According to materials related to the report posted on UNEP's website, "Current patterns of production and consumption of both fossil fuels and food are draining freshwater supplies; triggering losses of economically important ecosystems such as forests; intensifying disease and death rates and raising levels of pollution to unsustainable levels.”

UNEP followed with a news release, stating "Perhaps controversially, [the report] … calls for a significant shift in diets away from animal-based proteins toward more vegetable-based foods in order to dramatically reduce pressures on the environment."

The report tallies 149 pages, and the panel contends it provides science-based priorities for world environmental efforts. It ranks products, materials, as well as economic and lifestyle activities according to environmental and resource impacts.

Specific to animal agriculture, the report says that animals are fed more than half of all world crops, and that food production overall accounts for 19 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, 70 percent of global freshwater consumption and 38 percent of total land use.

Therefore, as noted in the report, "a substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

This new report follows the 2006 published report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. It is called "Livestock's Long Shadow," and stated that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

University of California, Davis Professor Frank Mitloehner, challenged the report pointing to flawed calculations. The FAO eventually responded, saying that it would revisit the calculations used in its 2006 report. Just this year, two of the researchers involved in that report acknowledge that the animal agriculture calculations were conducted differently.   Meanwhile the 2006 UN report continues to be the common reference when challenging animal agriculture on its role in global warming.  

Source: United Nations' Environment Programme,