Fact Check: Does Joe Biden Want to Cut U.S. Red Meat Consumption to Combat Climate Change?

Tackling climate change was a central policy for Joe Biden during the 2020 election, and last week the president hosted a summit with 40 world leaders to discuss their response to the crisis.

At the virtual event, Biden announced a new target for the U.S. to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

The summit was followed by claims on social media that Biden plans to cut meat consumption in the U.S. to combat climate change.

The Claim

Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted on Saturday: "Joe Biden's climate plan includes cutting 90% of red meat from our diets by 2030. They want to limit us to about four pounds a year. Why doesn't Joe stay out of my kitchen?"

Joe Biden’s climate plan includes cutting 90% of red meat from our diets by 2030. They want to limit us to about four pounds a year. Why doesn’t Joe stay out of my kitchen?

— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 24, 2021

The tweet gained significant attention, including over 16,800 likes, 4,400 retweets and over 6,100 comments as of Monday morning ET.

Matt Couch, a far-right activist who heads America First Media Group, made a similar claim later that day, tweeting a photo of a steak topped with what appears to be bacon-wrapped asparagus with the caption: "So Biden says we can have four pounds of red meat per year...

"My officially response today..."

His tweet was liked over 23,800 times, and retweeted by 6,900 users as of Monday morning ET.

So Biden says we can have four pounds of red meat per year...

My officially response today... pic.twitter.com/dZHEHbRtCT

— Matt Couch (@RealMattCouch) April 24, 2021

The Facts

Biden has not publicly announced plans to limit the consumption of meat in the U.S., at last week's summit or otherwise. Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

The claims made on Twitter appear to have originated from an article published by right-leaning British newspaper The Daily Mail that presented hypothetical ways that the U.S. could meet Biden's target of cutting emissions by 2030 when compared with 2005 levels.

Among the hypothetical changes was cutting 90 percent of red meat of our the diet to 4 pounds a year. To support this claim, the newspaper cited a study by the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems. It did not link to the study, but it appears to be from a report published in January 2020.

The report said: "replacing 50% of all animal-based foods with plant-based alternatives—leads to 224 MMT [million metric tons] less emissions per year in 2030, a reduction equivalent to the annual emissions of 47.5 million of today's average passenger vehicles. If we assume a linear transition from the 2016 diet to 2030 projections, this target of 50% substitution results in an estimated cumulative reduction of 1634 MMT. By further replacing 90% of beef, the cumulative emission reduction increases to 2408 MMT."

The report does not mention Biden or his administration.

The Ruling


Biden has never publicly backed or announced policy to cut the consumption of red meat by 90 percent to around 4 pounds a year in order to tackle climate change. Newsweek has contacted Boebert and Couch for comment.

This article has been updated to state Lauren Boebert and Matt Couch have been contacted for comment.

joe biden climate change meat, getty
President Joe Biden speaks at the virtual climate summit at the White House in Washington, D.C, on April 23, 2021. False claims have emerged that the president wants to curb meat consumption in the U.S. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images