The World Animal Protection, an international Non-Government Organization (NGO) advocating to end cruelty and suffering to animals on Monday welcomed COP27’s recognition of agriculture and food systems as a significant component of climate change action – but warns failure to urgently tackle emissions from industrial livestock farming will make it impossible to halt and reverse global warming.
The UN climate talks headed by Egypt concluded early Sunday, with agreements on a range of complex issues, including a hard fought for loss and damage fund, although the detail is yet to be worked through. Disappointingly, no further progress was made on the phase out of fossil fuels.
However, the NGO says attempts by negotiators to agree on how to keep the 2015 Paris Agreement limiting global warming to 1.5C fell well short.
World Animal Protection has been at COP27 throughout, calling on countries to commit to transition to sustainable food systems alongside shifts to plant-based diets. This is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The final text on agriculture, according to the statement represents a small step forward, recognizing the need for sustainable food systems, for climate action in relation to agriculture, and the emphasis on food security.
But the world’s largest agri-food companies linked to widespread destruction of forests and contributing significantly to emissions, promised much but failed to deliver adequate business strategies to align with the 1.5C climate target, it said.
Commenting on the key outcomes of Cop27 climate summit, the World Animal Protection’s Director of External Engagement, Kelly Dent said: “One bright spot in these crucial but otherwise frustrating climate negotiations has been the strong demand of civil society to include food systems in the debate through the presence of several food pavilions, numerous side events and a dedicated Agriculture Day putting food systems well and truly on the radar of the world leaders charged with saving our planet”
“The momentum for the inclusion of agriculture and food systems in future discussions is now irreversible, though much more needs to be done to move it where it needs to be – near the top of the agenda,” she said.
Although a number of new countries did sign the methane pledge, Dent pointed out that this commitment doesn’t cover the biggest sectoral source of methane emissions – livestock farming.
“Without bold action, even if fossil fuel emissions were eliminated immediately, emissions from the global food system alone would make it impossible to limit warming to 1.5°C.”
According to her, this is a concern because it gives big meat producers carte blanche to continue to destroy and clear natural habitat for factory farmed animal feed crops.
Distributed to delegates at COP27, World Animal Protection’s Climate Change and Cruelty report showed higher welfare farming for pigs emitted less methane. The report also revealed the true extent of unsustainable deforestation caused by factory farming.
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