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To meet CO2 constraints, Paris must exterminate 1.5 million cows. We’ll see if the growers are happy

According to the French Court of Auditors, in a report published on Monday 22 May, the French government should "define and publish a strategy to reduce" the number of cows bred in France in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In short, if Macron wants to reduce CO2 he must exterminate a few cows .

The report is published on the same day that Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne presents a government action plan that evaluates the reduction of greenhouse gases for the main sectors of the economy and quantifies the effort for agriculture, with priority on the reduction of impact of animal husbandry and nitrogen fertilisers.

France, Europe's largest beef producer and second largest dairy producer after Germany, has about 17 million head of cattle. Cattle breeding represents 11.8% of the country's emissions.

The balance of cattle breeding for the climate is unfavorable “, writes the Court of Auditors in a report on public support for farmers.

The Court points out that the sequestration of carbon by the grasslands where the animals graze is " far from offsetting the emissions " of livestock farming. Methane emissions weigh above all on the farm's budget: the production of this gas, which has a very warming effect and is produced by the digestion of ruminants and their droppings, represents 45% of French agricultural emissions.

If France wants to meet its commitments to reduce methane emissions (…), it will necessarily have to significantly reduce its livestock population” , says the institution, which asks the Ministry of Agriculture to “define and make public” a strategy in this area.

No more than 500 ga week in the pot

The Court observes that the ministry communicated to it "its hypotheses on the evolution of the cattle herd", which could drop to around 15 million head in 2035 and 13.5 million in 2050. The reduction in herds began some time ago (- 10% in six years). But “ this reduction remains uncontrolled and is not really managed by the state, to the detriment of farmers “, observes the Court. We are in France, an unfavorable market is not enough to destroy a sector, it is necessary for the state to intervene.

For the institution, the drop in livestock would not affect France's "sovereignty" in terms of red meat, provided consumers follow the recommendations of the health authorities not to consume more than 500 grams per week (threshold currently exceeded by 28% of adults): in fact normally this meat would simply be bought from other countries where these objectives are not strictly followed, such as Argentina or Brazil.

At the same time, he recommends that the Ministry "better support farmers in difficulty" so that they can "reorient themselves towards other production systems or change their professional orientation". That is to change profession. Maybe farmers could get into politics.

More generally, he believes that current livestock aid schemes are "very expensive" (4.3 billion euros in 2019). Of course Macron could cut this aid, unleashing other social upheavals to those already underway for the pension reform. A way to throw some fuel on the fire.

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The article To comply with CO2 constraints, Paris must exterminate 1.5 million cows. We'll see if the growers will be happy it comes from Economic Scenarios .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/per-rispettare-i-vincoli-sul-co2-parigi-deve-sterminare-15-milioni-di-mucche-vedremo-se-i-coltivatori-saranno-felici/ on Thu, 25 May 2023 13:05:13 +0000.