European Climate Risk Assessment report calls for shift to Plant-based diets

The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) welcomed the publication of the first European Climate Risk Assessment report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) at the request of the European Commission, which alerts to the climate risks facing Europe and the need to urgently implement policies to better prepare the continent.

The report is yet one more piece of a continuously growing body of scientific evidence urging European policymakers to adapt to the realities and challenges of climate change. In many ways, the report reflects the views of the EEA’s Transforming Europe’s food system – Assessing the EU policy mix report, which was released in April 2023. That report concluded that shifting towards plant-based diets was a necessary and impactful solution to mitigating the effects of the climate emergency.

In no uncertain terms, the latest assessment demonstrates how climate change significantly endangers food security in Europe, with ripple effects across society. It emphasises the threat to crop production and the subsequent cascade of risks to biodiversity, water resources, ecosystems, and eventually to human health and social cohesion.

In a call that is mirrored in the EVU’s Plant-Based Manifesto, the EEA report points to deficiencies within current EU policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). This is especially so in terms of how they continue to be inadequate in their consideration of climate risks and adaptation needs. The report also advocates for a transformative approach towards more sustainable and climate-resilient food systems, calling for the adoption of policies that support a shift from animal-based to plant-based diets. The report states that ‘’as foreseen under the Farm to Fork Strategy and in line with international dietary guidelines, [the shift to plant-based diets] can reduce freshwater consumption for food production, as well as dependency from feed sourced outside Europe.’’.

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