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NGO urges leaders at COP27 to discuss ‘plant-based treaty’

In an open letter to world leaders, NGOs and climate activists call for a “sustainable and just plant-based food transition”.

An NGO and climate activists have called on world leaders attending this year’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt to start negotiations for a “plant-based treaty”.

An open letter signed by celebrities, politicians and businesses was delivered to COP27 President Sameh Shoukry calling for “a comprehensive and holistic approach to a sustainable and just plant-based food transition through a Plant-Based Treaty”. in this decade to avoid a climate catastrophe”. .

The treaty outlined three basic principles; to stop the spread of animal agriculture, promote a shift to sustainable plant-based diets, and “reforest and rebuild” planet Earth.

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Food production accounts for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and is the main threat to 86% of the world’s endangered species, while livestock farming is responsible for three-quarters of the loss. from the Amazon jungle.

Livestock account for nearly a third of global methane emissions linked to human activity, released in the form of livestock burps, manure and forage crops.

According to the letter, fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the main driving forces behind the problems of global warming and climate change. The group said the three main greenhouse gases are at “devastatingly high levels and accelerating rapidly”.

The signatories hoped to bring the issue of the transition to plant-based food production to the forefront of the food insecurity and climate agenda.

They also expected world leaders to start negotiations for the treaty at COP27 Agriculture and Adaptation Day on November 12.

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“A step in the right direction would be to acknowledge the profligacy of animal industries in the Global North and its hugely negative implications on food security around the world,” Plant-Based Treaty campaigner Maximilian Weiss told Al Jazeera.

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While the problem is becoming more common in some regions such as the UK, Weiss said more needs to be done using a “bottom-up” approach to push governments to include plant-based solutions in action plans. climate.

“We are on the highway to climate hell with a methane-emitting beef patty in one hand and our foot on the fossil fuel accelerator. It is time for a plant-based food and renewable energy revolution,” said Anita Krajnc, coordinator of the global campaign for the Plant-Based Treaty.

Impacts of ‘animal production’

“It is high time that decision-makers in the climate debate stop overlooking the impact of animal production. We no longer have time to explain the links between animal agriculture, human rights, biodiversity, natural resources, and environmental protection,” said Anna Spurek, chief operating officer of the Green Rev Institute.

“COP27 should be the time to endorse the Plant-Based Treaty and decide on a just transition of the global food system.”

Some of the measures for the transition to a plant-based food system is to make such foods the default option in all public hospitals, schools, nursing homes, prisons and public institutions, the letter said.

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According to the organizers of the Plant-Based Treaty, the charter has been endorsed by more than 60,000 people and 2,000 groups and companies. Among its main goals is a “global agreement together with action at all levels,” they said.

Earlier this week, a top executive at the UN food agency told the Reuters news agency that the agency aims to launch a plan within the year to make the global food system more sustainable.

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Speaking to Reuters news agency on the sidelines of COP27, Food and Agriculture Organization Deputy Director Zitouni Ould-Dada said the plan would show how the food industry and agriculture can align with the global goal. to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F). .

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused food prices to rise globally, delegates at the conference were more open to discussing the issue, Ould-Dada said.

He added that the issue is also slowly gaining the attention of some governments.

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According to Weiss, the UN food agency’s action is “a long time ago.”

“With only a decade to implement solutions, action must be bolder and faster,” he said.

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