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Europe should go ‘demitarian’ to halve nitrogen pollution from agriculture

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Green Queen or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A new report commissioned by the UN highlights that reducing meat and dairy consumption, food waste, and fertilizer use can significantly lower nitrogen pollution from agriculture in Europe 
• This pollution is linked to biodiversity loss, respiratory and heart conditions, and ozone depletion

🔭 The context: Nitrogen, a potent greenhouse gas, poses various environmental and health risks 
• The report, conducted by multiple European research institutions, focuses on reactive nitrogen's damaging effects, including contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and polluting water bodies

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The report suggests that halving meat and dairy consumption, combined with improved agricultural practices, can lead to a 49% reduction in nitrogen losses 
• This approach aligns with efforts to combat climate change and supports the UN's goal to halve nitrogen waste by 2030

⏭️ What's next: The report advocates for a mix of policy interventions and technological innovations to improve nitrogen management 
• These include promoting plant-based diets, agroecological farming, and investing in 'future foods' like cultured meat 
• It also highlights the need for effective governance at various levels to reduce nitrogen losses throughout the food system

💬 One quote: "Plant-based diets require less land and fertilizers, reduce energy use and increase our resilience to the current multi-crises: food, energy, climate.” (Dr. Adrian Leip, Environmental Scientist, EU Commission)

📈 One stat: As of 2015, the EU food system's nitrogen use efficiency was only 18%, with the rest being wasted and leaked into the environment

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