Eighteen celebrities have signed a letter calling on world leaders to properly address animal agriculture’s impact on the climate crisis.
The letter was addressed to MP Alok Sharma, who is the president of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also called the Conference of Parties or COP.
COP sees world leaders coming together to discuss the accelerating climate crisis and to formulate plans of action. This year marks the 26th COP event.
‘Planet Earth is in grave trouble’
The recent letter called on Sharma and other leaders to include the animal-based food industry on the upcoming COP26 agenda.
“Planet Earth is in grave trouble, facing a climate emergency that requires urgent action,” the letter reads. It adds that animal agriculture makes up 14.5 to 16.5 percent of all anthropogenic (human-driven) greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
“This makes animal agriculture the second-highest GHG emitter in the world, on par with all forms of global transport combined. The impact our diet has on the planet can no longer be ignored,” the letter continues.
Many of the public figures who signed the letter do not consume animal products, including vegan musicians Billie Eilish, Leona Lewis, and Moby.
Vegan actors Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone, and Evanna Lynch also penned their names, as well as Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Finneas O’Connell, Alan Cumming, Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley, Deborah Meadan, Daisy Ridley, Alesha Dixon, Lily Cole, James McVey, and Lucy Watson.
“It is essential that world leaders explicitly acknowledge and recognize their responsibility to mitigate the impacts of animal agriculture on the planet, and pledge action,” the letter says.
“This cannot be achieved without the inclusion of animal agriculture on the COP26 agenda.”
COP26 offers a unique opportunity
Specifically, the letter urges for three topics to be formally addressed at COP26.
They include shifting subsidies and financial incentives from livestock production to sustainable plant-based agriculture. Incentivising investments into developing alternatives to animal-based food should also be discussed, the high profile figures maintain.
And lastly, they call for government procurement priorities to be updated to encourage lower GHG pathways within the public sector.
Julie Janovsky is Humane Society International’s vice president for farm animal welfare. She said in a statement: “Intensive animal farming is unsustainable, and that transforming our global food systems to more plant-based diets is one of the most effective climate-mitigation measures we can take.
“COP26 offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity and help end the cruelty caused by factory farms.”