Further dialogue on meat consumption

Parke's response to my comment on meat consumption:
Oh, and, as R indicates, it would be great to have a convergence in global meat consumption patterns at a level above that of Malawi and perhaps a third that of the United States. Under the current pattern, especially if you focus on feeding good food crops to animals (as opposed to using undeveloped grassland for animals), I can't think of meat consumption excess as a poor country problem. It's a rich country problem.
My response:
I love the idea of harmonious convergence, but running the numbers it's hard to see how meat consumption could even be held constant without some combination of 1), a massive, awareness-driven global shift toward low-meat, high-protein diets (I'm all for trying, but seems quixotic), 2), continued widespread malnourishment, and/or 3), a severe population adjustment.

According to FAPRI, current per capita meat consumption is 115 kg/year in the U.S., 80 in the EU, and 50 in China (growing to 62 in the next decade). They don't appear to have numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa, but I've seen ~15 elsewhere. Hard to know where needed protein intake ends and excessive consumption begins, but for the sake of argument say it's around where China will be in a decade (~60kg/capita/year). 1bn Africans shifting up to 60 would outweigh all of the U.S. and Europe shifting down. Less-developed E/SE Asian countries will likely rise as well. So hard to see per capita consumption falling on a global level, and overall consumption will have positive population growth layered on top for some time to come.

Update: Parke:
I'm not sure if R is advising: (a) that we should pursue GMOs now (because the alternative of moderating meat consumption is unrealistic), (b) that we should come to grips with the challenge of seeking convergence at and average annual meat consumption of, say, 40 kg per person rather than even the modest 60 kg per person, or (c) despair.

To point (b) in your original post, I think we should come to grips with the fact that meat consumption is unlikely to decline on a global level, and let that constraint inform the discussion of whether a local/organic ag system can feed the world. I certainly don't know the answer to that!!

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