Major UN climate change conference COP27 will include areas dedicated to food system change.
Amongst various displays at COP27 will be a 130-square-meter Food4Climate pavilion. It will be spearheaded by food awareness NGO ProVeg International and supported by 17 other global partners.
ProVeg hopes that its pavilion will shine a light on the role of food production, particularly animal agriculture, in the climate crisis.
Last year’s event drew criticism and accusations of greenwashing from climate campaigners. This was after it was revealed that meat was served to attendees and delegates flew in on private jets.
A lack of food system discussions also disappointed many observers of the Glasgow conference.
To meet the climate targets set out by the Paris Agreement, global warming needs to be limited to 2°C or below. To stay on track, carbon and methane emissions need to be significantly reduced.
Research confirms that without addressing the current food system, it will be impossible to meet the 2°C target. This stands even if all fossil fuel emissions are eliminated.
Global meat and dairy production account for 83 percent of farmland use and 60 percent of the agriculture sector’s emissions. However, it contributes just 18 percent of the world’s calories.
Conversely, if everybody shifted to a plant-based diet, land requirements would shrink by 75 percent, reducing emissions at the same time.
This is the message that ProVeg wants to drive home to climate policymakers from around the world.
A call to climate arms
ProVeg and its partners want to encourage UN member states to transition towards a plant-focused food system. Its Diet Change Not Climate Change campaign banner will be showcased throughout the COP27 event.
“Approval by the UN to set up the Food4Climate Pavilion at COP27 really marks a tectonic shift in the UN’s approach to food systems,” Raphael Podselver, head of UN advocacy at ProVeg, said in a statement.
“We hope the pavilion will engage policymakers around the world to address the challenges posed by agriculture and encourage countries to embrace the solutions.”
“Inaction on food systems at this stage is no longer an option. We need to transition more to plant-based diets to bring down both methane and CO2 emissions effectively,” Podselver noted.
“The scientific evidence shows that this transition can help put the brake on climate change as well as ensure food security for future generations.”
COP27 is being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November. Almost 200 countries will be in attendance. To date, climate progress has been slow in Egypt, with more focus placed on increased natural gas production than decarbonization.