In 2012, agriculture was responsible for over 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Meat production is a significant factor. Producing 1 kilo of beef generates 65 times more CO2 than producing 1 kilo of potatoes. During digestion and excretion, livestock
also release methane, a gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The EU is the second largest producer of meat in the world and Europeans eat over 86 kilo of meat per person each year. Experts say that if Europe were to cut its
meat and dairy intake by half, net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would decrease by 42%. Changing consumption patterns is not currently
on Europe’s agenda, but the Commission is working on reducing the impact of agriculture on global warming. 30% of the Common Agricultural Policy’s
direct payments will go towards green farming practices that focus on biodiversity, water
and soil quality, and capturing carbon.