The COP28 climate summit will finally' serve mostly vegan food', UN confirms | Totally Vegan Buzz
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“My team has been working to ensure the availability of plant-based food options that are affordable, nutritious, and locally and regionally sourced, with clear emissions labeling.”

This year, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) will prioritize plant-based food options, a move happening for the first time in its history.  

COP28 is scheduled to be held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December. The UAE Presidency-Designate for the conference, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, confirmed that the event t is ditching animal foods because of its environmental impact.

The annual conference, which sees world leaders meet up to address the climate crisis, has received major flak in the past for dismissing animal agriculture’s impact and serving meat dishes despite it being a major contributor to environmental destruction.

Last year, the event, which took place in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, offered a $100 beef medallion dish, a $50 seafood platter, and a $40 salmon meal on its menus.

Letter to the COP

Various groups and youth activists have been calling on the event organizers to adopt a vegan menu for several years now.

This year, global food awareness organization ProVeg joined forces with more than 140 youth and civil society organizations, including the Youth and Children Constituency of the UNFCCC (YOUNGO), to send a letter to the COP28 Presidency.

The letter called for at least 75% of the menu to be plant-based and for the menu to be culturally inclusive.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber responded in writing: “Inclusivity is at the core of COP28 – including operations – and we recognize the urgency of the challenges you have outlined in your letter

“The COP28 Presidency also has a firm focus on transformational action on food systems within the wider global climate change agenda.

The letter added: “As part of this, we intend to demonstrate sustainable food systems in action at COP28 itself. My team has been working to ensure the availability of plant-based food options that are affordable, nutritious, and locally and regionally sourced, with clear emissions labeling.”

ProVeg, which is participating in COP28, applauded the news that COP will comply with the menu change and offer mostly plant-based dishes.

Lana Weidgenant, youth activist and ProVeg International campaigns and policy officer told VegNews:  “This is a hugely important decision because having plant-based foods at COP28 is an effective way of connecting the dots between global food system emissions and the solution to bringing those emissions down as quickly, and tastefully as possible.”

 The organization added that “world leaders need to acknowledge the immense pressure that animal agriculture places on land and water systems, while also accounting for up to 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Meat’s impact on the environment

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), animal agriculture accounts for at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also responsible for deforestation, biodiversity loss, and species extinction.

Meanwhile, “a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use,” lead researcher Joseph Poore, of the University of Oxford, UK, commented in 2018.

“It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

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