EU’s forestation targets demand dietary rethink

A recently published paper in Environmental Letters "Implementing land-based mitigation to achieve the Paris Agreement in Europe requires food system transformation" by our group members, Heera Lee, Calum Brown, Bumsuk Seo, and Mark Rounsevell is selected as a daily highlight at the magazine `Physics World’ (, 8 Nov2019). 

 “Restoring and expanding Europe’s forests will be a vital part of the EU’s efforts to limit atmospheric CO2, but reforestation targets are probably unattainable without profound changes to the region’s food system … The researchers found that, even with significant increases in the productivity of farmland, the majority of simulations forecast success only when meat consumption was cut drastically.” 

“Assuming that cutting down on meat does turn out to be necessary, persuading consumers to change their habits will not be easy. Lee suggests that raising awareness of the environmental consequences of food choices would be the most straightforward way, since this factor already seems to be at least partly behind the increased prevalence of vegetarian and vegan diets. Increasing the cost of meat directly (through taxes) or indirectly (through land-use regulations) could work, but would surely be unpopular. “The alternative to a stick,” says Lee, “is a carrot: plant-based foods could be subsidized to make them relatively cheaper than meat.”




The original article: