Report launched at COP28 says it’s time to negotiate plant-based diet change to protect climate and other planetary boundaries in peril
Al Gore tells Moby ‘the relationship between meat & dairy production and climate change is the real inconvenient truth.’
Dubai: Steven George, science ambassador for Plant Based Treaty, +31 6 48072566, [email protected]
Global: Anita Krajnc, global campaign coordinator at Plant Based Treaty, +1 416-825-6080, [email protected]
December 10, 2023, UAE — Celebrities, including Maggie Baird and Moby, have endorsed Plant Based Treaty’s Safe and Just Report launching during a press conference on Sunday, 10 December, on COP28’s Food Agriculture and Water Day. The report calls for climate negotiations to include a safe and just plant-based transition that supports everyone.
The report reveals the urgency of addressing the transgression of planetary boundaries by examining the food system’s impact on climate change, land-use change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, freshwater use and nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. The Safe and Just report presents a forward-thinking vegan donut economics framework, adapted from Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics, and takes a scientific and socio-economic systems approach connecting the scientific mandate to act with the Plant Based Treaty’s policy proposals.
Paul Wesley actor and star of Star Trek and The Vampire Diaries, said, “We need to address animal agriculture to stop the destruction of the Earth’s climate, ocean and biosphere. Plant Based Treaty’s new report Safe and Just, provides a blueprint for a transition to a sustainable plant-based food system.”
Louis-Philippe Loncke, World Class Explorer and Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Jane Goodall Institute Belgium Ambassador, said, “The Safe and Just report is all we need to know about what’s going on with the crisis happening. I personally find the Donut Economics Approach to the Food System a great visual tool to understand quickly how serious we need to change our behavior. It’s a political choice, it’s a personal consumer choice but it must be done by all humanity and fast now. The entire sustainability of Life as we know it depends on those decisions.”
Moby, musician and Plant Based Treaty endorser, said, “Years ago, I spoke with Al Gore, and he told me that ‘the relationship between meat & dairy production and climate change is the real inconvenient truth’.”
Carlos Nobre, Brazilian meteorologist and one of the authors of IPCC AR4 awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, said: “The Amazon is the largest tropical forest and it is very close to a tipping point of becoming a degraded open-canopy ecosystem. The Plant Based Treaty is very relevant to develop a new social bioeconomy in the Amazon based on hundreds of products from its rich biodiversity to produce very healthy foods.”
Maggie Baird, founder of Support + Feed and mother to Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, said, “The food system must play a vital role in the solution to the climate crisis. We will not solve this existential problem by focusing on fossil fuels alone. Plant Based Treaty’s new report provides a blueprint for a transition to a just, safe, equitable and sustainable plant-based food system.”
Gregory Cipes, Actor, Voice of Beast Boy in Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go! said, “I’m a servant of dog, therefore all animals. It’s our responsibility and gift to look after the flock of all of creation. A true alliance means unity, respect, abundance and peace for all animals including the human animals. The Plant-Based Treaty Safe and Just report is a great solution to help spread more love and awareness on behalf of all creatures big and small!”
Ben Parker, Scottish Green Party Councillor, The City of Edinburgh Council, said, “The role of sustainable plant-based food is the missing piece of the puzzle in environmental action. Plant-Based Treaty’s Safe and Just report, shows how cities can promote and increase access to plant-based food, helping communities thrive whilst respecting our planetary limits. In Edinburgh, we are proud that the Council has signed the Plant Based Treaty and is developing an ambitious action plan to see the aims and ambitions of the treaty come to life on the ground for people across the city.”
Henry Smith, MP, said, “Plant Based Treaty’s Safe and Just report details the widespread degradation and impacts of expanding animal agriculture on our planetary boundaries. It also offers us hope and a pathway to a more sustainable, ethical food system that would benefit the health of Earth and those who call it home.”
Graham Neale, Councillor, Southwark Council, said, “As outlined in Plant-Based Treaty’s Safe and Just report, a shift towards plant-based diets is an absolute must if we want to avoid catastrophic tipping points for climate, deforestation and biodiversity. It requires action and policy reform at all levels of government, all the way from Town Councils to the Houses of Parliament.”
Sada Sayed, Indian actress, said, “Food emissions are the silent contributors to climate change. The Plant Based Treaty’s report highlights the urgent need to shift to plant-based solutions for the sake of our planet and future generations.”
Sri Divya, Indian actress, said, “When you recognize how a simple change in your diet can significantly reduce the immense harm to the Earth and ultimately ourselves, I think we should wholeheartedly adopt and implement that positive shift. The latest report from Plant-Based Treaty, titled ‘Safe and Just,’ on our food systems is alarming.”
Steven George, co-author of the Safe and Just report and science ambassador for Plant Based Treaty, said, “Scientists have warned us that even if we phase out fossil fuels today, food emissions alone are enough to put the 1.5°C and 2°C targets out of reach. The IPCC Climate models assume the food system will transform from carbon source to sink in the next two decades, but we see little action in this direction. The global food system transition is equally important to phasing out fossil fuels, with animal agriculture at the heart of biosphere degradation.”
Anita Krajnc, co-author of the Safe and Just report and global campaign coordinator at The Plant Based Treaty, says, “COP28 needs to put dietary change at the centre of climate talks. Global per capita meat, dairy and egg consumption have been accelerating since the 1950s, contributing to the breach of five planetary boundaries, specifically climate change, land-use change, biodiversity, phosphorus and nitrogen, and water use. We need a bold action plan to transition to a plant-based food system before the next Global Stock Take at COP30. This requires action at all levels to thrive through food security, Indigenous rights, banning live export, financing plant-based food, massive public education campaigns and greening cities.”
Nicola Harris, co-author of the Safe and Just report, said, “We need local, national, and international cooperation to reduce food impacts with plant-based diets. Cities can live up to their reputation as global climate champions by integrating plant-based food strategies into their existing Climate Action Plans, and interlinked programs that address biodiversity, food poverty, and community health.”
Juliet Gellatley, founder & director, Viva! Said,”Plant-Based Treaty’s new report is a vital read that will help us secure the future of our planet.
The Safe and Just report expands the environmental emergency beyond just the climate crisis and shows how animal agriculture is driving nearly every environmental issue we are facing. It highlights that demand for meat, dairy, fish and eggs is driving the sixth mass extinction. This recognition is crucial as humanity’s survival hinges on a healthy ecosystem. Without wildlife, we will not survive.
A transition away from animal agriculture towards a vegan food system that is kinder to our planet and animals is needed now and this report provides the perfect road map to igniting this change.”
Naomi Hallum, CEO of GenV, said, “The Safe and Just report is an eye-opening statement clearly illustrating what must be done – on an individual, institutional, and global scale – if we want a safe and sustainable food system, and a planet capable of supporting future generations. Please share this crucial report with every who wants to build a better world.”
Jane Velez-Mitchell, President, UnchainedTV, said, “Vegan Donut Economics is simply the best thing to emerge from COP28. It’s also the one development we can say, for sure, was not crafted in some back room under the supervision of the very industries creating the climate crisis: Big Meat, Big Oil. Leave it to the Plant Based Treaty folks to provide a much needed breath of fresh air at this now infamously compromised event.”
Trevor Cluthé, Greenpeace Toronto Local Group, said, “It is imperative that we look at the role of plant based diets to help address the climate crisis and the breaching of so many other planetary boundaries like deforestation and ocean acidification. The Plant Based Treaty Safe and Just report lays out a bold action plan which would help us rewild and restore nature.”
Key takeaways from the report:
- Dietary change has transformative potential to reduce food’s impact on climate change, land use, biodiversity, freshwater use, ocean acidification, and as a future carbon sink, to strengthen biosphere resilience.
- Even if fossil fuel emissions ended today, global food emissions alone would make the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit impossible and the 2°C target difficult to realize.
- The focus on carbon emissions, or “carbon tunnel vision,” can overshadow other interconnected planetary crises, particularly rapid biodiversity loss, which is integral to Earth’s systems, influencing feedback mechanisms in oceans and land capable of reducing or intensifying global warming effects.
Vegan donut economics
- The Plant Based Treaty advocates for a plant-based transition and rewilding. Inspired by Johan Rockström’s concept of safe and just Earth system boundaries and Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics, the Safe and Just report provides a framework for transitioning the global food system to plant-based within timeframes for net zero.
- A plant-based food system presents an opportunity to feed the world with just 1 billion hectares of land and rewild three-quarters of agricultural land.
- Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines acting as land defenders and face disproportionate killings connected to the agribusiness sector. In the Amazon, the main driver of deforestation is the expansion of soy production for farmed animal feed.
- Global per capita consumption of meat has steadily grown since the 1980s. Between the early 1980s and early 2020s, meat consumption has increased from around 30 kg per year to about 45 kg per year or a 50 per cent rise in this short timeframe. (See visual in media file) Source: William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Jillian W Gregg, Johan Rockström, et al., The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory, BioScience, 24 October 2023.
- According to a 2023 World Bank report, $23 million per minute is spent globally subsidising the animal agriculture and fossil fuel industries. Between 2015 and 2020, global meat and dairy companies received over $478 billion in backing from more than 2,500 global investment firms, banks, and pension funds. Plant Based Treaty calls for a major redirection of subsidies that promote increased meat and dairy consumption, to redirect fund education and improve accessibility to sustainable plant-based food.
- Amsterdam is expected to join Los Angeles and Edinburgh, becoming the 23rd city to endorse the call for a Plant Based Treaty after an announcement at the end of November 2023: “We will sign the Plant Based Treaty, sending a strong signal that endorsing the principles of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement needs a climate-neutral and circular food system.”
The Plant Based Treaty have official UN Observer Status and are nominated for the 2024 Earth Shot Prize. The initiative is inspired by treaties that have addressed the threats of ozone layer depletion and nuclear weapons and has been endorsed by 22 cities, including Edinburgh, Los Angeles and Didim, Turkey and has attracted support from 120,000 individual endorsers, 5 Nobel laureates, IPCC scientists, and more than 3000 groups and businesses, including the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and chapters of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
The Plant Based Treaty has secured high-profile endorsements from celebrities, including Chris Packham and Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, who issued a written statement calling for politicians to support the Plant Based Treaty. They said: “We believe in justice for animals, the environment and people. That’s why we support the Plant Based Treaty and urge individuals and governments to sign it.”