Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sir Paul McCartney urges meat-free day to cut CO2

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney urged world leaders to alter their food policies

Cutting out meat consumption on one day a week can have a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions, Sir Paul McCartney has said.

In an interview with Parliament Magazine he appealed for "people power" to make the difference in the fight against global warming.

He says halving UK meat consumption would do more to reduce emissions than halving the use of private transport.

Sir Paul will take his "Meat-free Monday" campaign to Brussels this week.

The estimated effect of the reduction in meat consumption, by Compassion in World Farming, is central to Sir Paul's campaign which began last June and will continue on Thursday at a European Parliament conference.

The event is also being attended by UN climate change chief Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

Writing in the Brussels-based Parliament Magazine, Sir Paul said: "Whilst we press politicians to pass global laws to reduce carbon emissions, we should not forget our individual capacity to act in ways that will help to fight climate change - such as limiting the eating of meat.

"Having one designated meat-free day a week is a meaningful change that everyone can make."

He described having a meat-free day each week as "the little thing that can make a big difference" and urged governments to back individual action with "the right policies".

From farm to fork, the more meat we produce and eat, the bigger that carbon footprint will get
Sir Paul McCartney

"People power can always win out over government inaction. By making a simple change in the way you eat, you are taking part in a world-changing campaign where what's good for you is also good for the planet," said Sir Paul.

The former Beatle said he would appeal to world leaders, who will be converging on Copenhagen for climate change talks in a few days, to remember that sustainable food policy is an essential weapon in the fight against global warming.

Global livestock production currently comprised about 18% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and could double by 2050, according to Sir Paul.

"From farm to fork, the more meat we produce and eat, the bigger that carbon footprint will get. We simply cannot go on consuming like this," he said.

To support his view, he pointed to a joint report by Friends of the Earth and Compassion in World Farming.

It claims that if the industrialised world halved meat consumption it would be possible to feed the world in 2050 without large agricultural expansion, intensive crop and animal farming, or any further deforestation.

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