230 groups, businesses, academics and politicians urge COP27 and world leaders to negotiate a Plant Based Treaty
November 10, 2022
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Sharm El Sheikh, November 11, 2022. An open letter penned by Plant Based Treaty, Green Rev Institute and Future Food 4 Climate has attracted more than 230 signatories and calls for COP27 and world leaders to start negotiations for a Plant Based Treaty on COP27’s Agriculture and Adaptation Day on 12 November. The letter calls for “a broad, holistic approach to a sustainable and just plant-based food transition through a global Plant Based Treaty this decade to avert climate catastrophe.”
The coalition has raised the alarm that the current food system is a major contributor to accelerating greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural sprawl and deforestation, loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, soil degradation and health crises. Animal agriculture is a leading driver of further crises including the transgression of planetary tipping points.
Anita Krajnc, Plant Based Treaty global campaign coordinator said:
“We’re on the highway to climate hell with a methane-emitting meat burger in one hand and our foot on the fossil fuel gas pedal. It’s time for a plant-based food and renewable energy revolution.”
COP27 has faced criticism for serving a meat-heavy menu and running out of vegan food options within days of the opening of the climate conference.
Maximilian Weiss, Plant Based Treaty campaigner from Germany said:
“What if a climate conference is not addressing one of the main causes of climate breakdown? What if a conference designed to protect the natural world is not addressing the main cause of biodiversity loss and deforestation? What if a conference on human rights and social justice is not addressing one of the main causes of world hunger? We, as part of the Plant Based Treaty initiative, are here to talk about the elephant in the room which is actually a cow!”
Dr Sylwia Spurek, a Member of the European Parliament who has signed the letter said:
“The Plant Based Treaty should be the benchmark for new global and EU policies.”
The letter which has been delivered to COP27 president, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry seeks immediate action on three counts:
- Preventing the conversion of forest areas and other ecosystems for the cultivation of feed for so-called farmed animals, stopping the building of new animal farms and slaughterhouses, and prohibiting the intensification of existing farms;
- Transitioning towards a plant-based food system using measures such as plant-based food as the default option in all public hospitals, schools, nursing homes, prisons and public institutions, utilizing subsidies and taxes to redirect resources from animal agriculture to plant-based agriculture, providing support for farmers and producers who want to switch to a plant-based production system, carrying out educational activities to reduce the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs, updating global and national guidelines on diet and nutrition;
- Restoring key ecosystems damaged by the current food production system, taking into account actions such as reforestation and ocean restoration. Ensure universal access to healthy, sustainable plant-based food as a basic human right, with a particular focus on vulnerable communities.
“Plant Based Treaty is a promise of justice and a plant-based food system that leaves no one behind. We need brave commitments from politicians,” said Dr. Tomasz Aniśko, a Member of Parliament in Poland who also signed the letter, “Scientists have made it clear: it will not be possible to halt catastrophic climate change without fundamentally changing the way we produce food and without shifting the agriculture sector from animal production to sustainable plant-based systems.”
“It is high time for decision-makers in the climate debate to 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,” says Anna Spurek, Chief Operating Officer of Green Rev Institute, “COP27 should be the moment to endorse the Plant Based Treaty and decide on a just transition of the global food system.”
“Science can no longer be neglected, especially not at global events where our collective future is decided. COP27 should be a breakthrough and demonstrate how to connect the dots effectively,” says Morgan Janowich, Future Food 4 Climate coordinator, “Today’s food system production is the driving force behind the climate catastrophe, and the Plant Based Treaty is about moving away from what is harmful and restoring ecosystems.”
The Plant Based Treaty has been endorsed by over 60,000 individuals, 2000 groups and businesses and 20 cities including the latest to sign on, Los Angeles. The Plant Based Treaty has two objectives: a global agreement alongside action at all levels, including individual diet change and plant-based climate solutions from civil society groups, businesses and cities.
“We can do a lot outside COP27, but we also need COP27 to succeed if we are to meet the 1.5C commitment set by the Paris Accords. That’s why we need a global agreement for a Plant Based Treaty,” said Nicola Harris, Plant Based Treaty communications director, “If COP27 fails to negotiate a Plant Based Treaty, it is down to each and every one of us to continue to apply bottom-up pressure on politicians.”
“Experts attending COP27 are one of the small minority of people on the planet who know how serious the climate crisis is and world leaders need to act like leaders and warn their populations and roll out a rescue plan,” continued Nicola Harris, “We are living in a time of consequences. The decisions we make this decade will greatly impact our future. We are here to ask you to join the plant-based food revolution in creating individual diet change and food policy to avert the climate, ocean and biodiversity crisis.”
Andrzej Elzanowski, professor of biological sciences at Warsaw University said, “Veganism is a necessary condition to save the biosphere of the Earth.”
A bottom-up pressure coalition of individuals, groups, businesses and cities is calling for a global Plant Based Treaty with three core principles to (1) relinquish the expansion of animal agriculture, (2) promote a shift to healthy sustainable plant-based diets through public education and redirecting subsidies and taxation, and (3) reforest and rewild the Earth and restore carbon sinks to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Governments are being urged to support food justice, help farmers in a just transition to plant-based agroecological agriculture and rewild the Earth so we can live safely and ethically within our planetary boundaries.