Livestock numbers will need to be cut and a plant-based diet promoted if the Netherlands is to meet its climate change targets, the Dutch Government has been told.
The recommendations were made in a new report by the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli), the primary strategic advisory board for Dutch Ministers.
In June this year, the Dutch Parliament voted to approve a law which required greenhouse gas emissions be cut by 95 per cent by 2050 compared with the level in 1990 – but with no plan for how the goal would be reached.
Both the UK and Scottish Governments are considering similar legislation, which would see emissions slashed to ‘net zero’ on the same timescale, despite warnings such a target would make livestock farming ‘unviable’.
The Rli’s report, which focused on the production and consumption of animal products because of their ‘substantial contribution’ to greenhouse gas emissions, said: “All things considered, the Council considers it more than likely that the livestock population will eventually have to be reduced in order to meet the climate targets and ensure a balanced distribution of the emissions reduction burden across the economy.
“Livestock farmers will have to make major reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.”
The report calls on the Dutch Government to provide clarity on emissions ceilings for livestock farming in 2030 and 2050, and recommends this be translated into a system of emissions rights which would be reduced over time.
Ministers are also advised to adopt a food policy which would reduce animal protein consumption to no more than 40 per cent of total protein consumption by 2030.
It is suggested this could be done by raising VAT or introducing an animal excise duty on animal products, alongside other less draconian measures such as ‘co-operating with the retail trade sector to ensure consumption of more plant protein’.