Europe will need to change its diet to address climate change and health
As part of an unprecedented global InterAcademy Partnership project by 130 science academies, a team of scientists from across Europe undertook a two-year, extensive analysis on the future of food, nutrition, agriculture, and health.
Scientists from national academies across Europe are calling for urgent action on food and nutrition in a new rigorous and independent report published today by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC). This thorough analysis has implications for policy-makers working on food, nutrition, health, the environment, climate change, and agriculture. Combating malnutrition in all its forms – undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies as well as overweight and obesity – is a problem faced by all countries. Research and innovation will be central to finding solutions to these local-global and multidisciplinary, interconnected challenges. Evidence must underpin the policies that deliver Europe’s future approach to these issues. The report recommends being more ambitious in identifying and using scientific opportunities: how the current evidence base can shape understanding of both supply- and demand-side challenges, and how the research agenda should be defined, including basic research, to fill knowledge gaps.
Climate change will have negative impacts on food systems, necessitating the introduction of climate-smart agriculture such as the adoption of plant breeding innovations to cope with drought. Agriculture and current diets also contribute substantially to climate change. Mitigating this contribution depends on climate-smart food systems such as land-sparing and agronomic management practices together with efforts to influence consumer behaviours associated with excessive agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, including the overconsumption of calories and meat. Changing dietary consumption could bring co-benefits to health and to climate change.
To read the keys findings of the report, see the original press release from European Academies Science Advisory Council here.