New York City Mayor Eric Adams has promised to bring down the city’s harmful carbon pollution caused by the food sector, with a particular focus on meat.
Recently released information shows that, as CBS New York reported, 20% of the planet-warming gases produced by the city come from the food industry’s production and consumption. For comparison, transportation produces 22% of the city’s carbon pollution, while 34% comes from buildings, the New York Daily News also reported.
The mayor aims to reduce the city government’s food-related carbon emissions by 33% in the next seven years, with an eye on the largest culprit — meat.
“Food impacts everything,” Adams recently said, according to the Daily News. “It impacts our physical health, our mental health, our way of life, and today we are saying to New Yorkers, and really to the globe, that it impacts our planet.”
The environmental impact of meat goes well beyond New York City. On a global scale, according to some estimates, the meat industry represents about 18% of the human-generated gases heating the planet, most of which come in the form of methane, a gas that warms the Earth much more efficiently than carbon.
Another environmental issue tied to meat production is the enormous amount of land needed to produce food and/or roaming space for farmed animals. Animal agriculture is the main driver of Amazon rainforest deforestation, especially the cattle industry.
Among the measures taken by Mayor Adams is making plant-based meals the default option in the city’s Health + Hospitals network, as well as launching Meatless Mondays and Plant-Powered Fridays in New York City Public Schools.
According to the Daily News, Adams said he is “challenging” New York City’s private sector to reach a 25% reduction in food-related warming gases by 2030.
However, some people have criticized the mayor for not doing enough to tackle the private sector’s meat production.
“The rubber hits the road with the vast quantities of food that are served and consumed by the private sector, and this does nothing on that,” Peter Sikora, the climate campaigns director at New York Communities for Change, told the Daily News.
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