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Macron to urge French to eat less cheese, meat for the environment

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron, reeling from a humiliating wave of Green local election victories over the weekend, has embraced an unusual strategy to win back popularity: suggesting the French eat less cheese, among other proposals.

The President backed a series of proposals from an environmental citizens’ panel on Monday, Paris time, including that the French should cut their cheese and meat consumption by 20 per cent.

French President Emmanuel Macron is pictured through a piece of cheese as he attends the annual May Day ceremony during which French food products are displayed at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, last year.

French President Emmanuel Macron is pictured through a piece of cheese as he attends the annual May Day ceremony during which French food products are displayed at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, last year.Credit:AP

The citizens’ group that he convened earlier this year in response to criticism that he wasn’t doing enough to battle climate change gave him a list of climate proposals, including recommendations on fighting CO2 emissions by weening the French off solo car rides and proposing alternatives such as electric cars, as well as capping the harmful effects of air travel. Travel produces 30 per cent of greenhouse gases in France.

Addressing the 150-member panel in the Elysee Palace garden, Macron said he backed most of their proposals, including the cheese and meat cutbacks. The group stopped short of recommending spot checks of what people eat for dinner, but said office, factory and school canteens should be forced to meet the target. Environmental campaigns have succeeded in convincing many people in France to eat less meat, with school canteens now offering at least one vegetarian meal a week.

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