Demand from Greenpeace: fewer animals for a better climate


Status: 10/30/2021 2:18 p.m.

In order to become climate neutral by 2045, the number of animals in Germany would have to be halved. That is the result of a study commissioned by Greenpeace. The environmentalists want to support farmers with the conversion.

If Germany wants to achieve the goal set in the Climate Protection Act of being climate-neutral by 2045, the number of animals in Germany must be drastically reduced, according to Greenpeace.

With a “halving of the livestock”, not only could emissions from agriculture be reduced to the necessary level, but also freed forage areas could be used for climate protection, it says in one Study by the Öko-Institut on behalf of the environmental protection organization.

Three quarters of the agricultural greenhouse gases came from animal husbandry, 14 percent from the production of plant-based foods and around ten percent from the cultivation of energy crops, the study continues.

Create incentives for consumers and farmers

“The upcoming federal government has a duty to immediately create the conditions for the number of animals in agriculture to decrease significantly,” demanded Greenpeace expert Martin Hofstetter. Only then can the Climate Protection Act be complied with.

Incentives for consumers to consume less meat and dairy products are needed – for example through tax breaks for fruit and vegetables. In addition, financial incentives are necessary for farmers in order to cope with the restructuring of agriculture and to make the exit from animal husbandry attractive. Premiums that are financed with an animal welfare tax for meat and dairy products are conceivable.

Greenpeace emphasizes that the climate goals in agriculture cannot be achieved with innovative technology and improved management alone. Without a reduction in the number of animals, emissions in 2045 would be 46 million tons of CO2, 37 million tons of which from animal husbandry alone, while agriculture is then only allowed to emit a maximum of 35 million tons, the organization calculated.

Greenpeace’s criticism of agricultural policy in Germany is not new. In mid-September, the environmental organization accused Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner of suppressing the climate impacts in the production of animal products. The greenhouse gas emissions from the production of meat and dairy products in Germany are “systematically subtracted”. The ministry regularly only names the direct emissions from animal husbandry and suppresses the upstream, indirect emissions of greenhouse gases, for example from the cultivation of animal feed, complained Greenpeace.

At that time, the organization had already called for the animal population to be halved by 2035 in order to be able to achieve climate neutrality in 2045. The study by the Öko-Institut now supports this claim.


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