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    Poland’s Meat Consumption: More Eco-Friendly Than France

    While the European Union struggles with high carbon emissions from meat consumption, Poland exhibits a more environmentally conscious meat consumption pattern, according to the latest report from the Polish Economic Institute (PEI).

    Annually, the average Pole consumes significantly less beef compared to their European counterparts, approximately eight times less than the EU average. This practice has notably contributed to lower carbon emissions from meat consumption in Poland, positioning it well below the EU-27 average.

    In 2021, the typical Polish diet included 89 kg of meat per person, with pork (56 kg) and poultry (32 kg) leading consumption, reports the PEI. Although these figures place Poland fourth in the EU in terms of total meat consumption, the related carbon emissions are considerably lower. The institute highlighted that only 2% of the consumed meat in Poland is beef, which has a higher carbon footprint than other meats.

    The study reveals that beef production is highly emissions-intensive, generating between 30 to 100 kg of CO2 equivalents per kg of meat, compared to 13 kg for pork and 10 kg for poultry. This stark difference in emission levels underscores the impact of Poland’s lower beef consumption on its overall carbon footprint.

    In comparison, meat consumption in countries like Portugal, France, and Denmark is associated with higher emissions, with an average of 2.4 tons of CO2 per kg of meat consumed in Portugal and France, and 2.2 tons in Denmark.

    The global environmental impact of meat consumption is significant, accounting for 11-20% of total carbon dioxide emissions. The PEI report suggests that shifting half of the animal-based products to less emissive alternatives by 2050 could halt the need for deforestation and reduce CO2 emissions from agriculture and land use by 31%.

    Looking to the future, the development of lab-grown meat presents a promising avenue for further reductions in emissions. By 2030, lab-grown beef is expected to produce only 3 to 14 kg of CO2 equivalents per kg, potentially ten times less than traditional cattle farming. However, the technology remains in its infancy, and in some instances, emissions from lab-grown meat production could surpass those from conventional methods.

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