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Meat-eating taking a bite out of Finland's climate ambitions

Government parties disagree on how much meat you should eat.

Käsi leikkaa lihaveitsellä 500 gramman jauhelihapalasta viidesosan.
Some government parties want Finland to have more ambitious meat reduction targets to help cut emissions. Image: Esa Syväkuru / Yle
Yle News

Encouraging the public to eat less meat has been a bone of contention for the government.

The issue of meat consumption is delaying Finland's climate food programme—part of the objectives set by PM Sanna Marin's (SDP) government to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2035.

The climate food programme aims to reduce food-related emissions, but wording related to meat consumption has been watered down, according to government sources.

The programme now aspires to "reduce meat consumption," which is vaguer than a previously stated target of reducing meat consumption by a third by 2030.

Pertti Hakanen, special adviser to Agriculture Minister Antti Kurvinen (Cen), told Yle that the government was still attempting to finalise the programme before April's general elections.

Disagreements between government parties have already delayed the programme twice.

The climate food programme also calls for the public sector to increase plant-based food offerings, favour local meat and halve food waste from current levels by 2030.

Red meat continues to be the primary source of protein for people in Finland, according to a joint study from Helsinki and Tampere Universities. The consumption of red meat has, however, been declining for several years.

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