Cop26 organizers slammed for menu mostly meat, fish and dairy

Cop26 organizers are being criticized for serving a menu of mostly meat, dairy and fish at a conference that brings together world leaders to tackle the climate crisis.

Last month, the government announced that 95% of the food at the 13-day event in Glasgow would come from the UK, with 80% coming from Scotland.

The carbon footprint of each item is also included in the menu, with the aim of informing attendees which dishes have the “lowest impact” on the environment.

At the time, Cop26 President-Elect Alok Sharma said it was “exciting” to “understand the thought and effort that has gone into making food that is both healthy, sustainable and suitable for different diets.

The menus, which have been published on the “A recipe for change” website, are made up of 42% plant-based products. Meat and fish make up 41% while vegetarian foods, including eggs and dairy, make up 17% of the menu.

The presence of meat, dairy and fish options at the conference drew criticism on social media.

Joel Scott-Halkes, co-founder of UK environmental organization Wild Card, said serving meat and fish at Cop26 “is like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference”.

“Only when governments understand the central role of animal agriculture in the #climatecrisis will we have a chance to solve it,” he said.

According to Greenpeace, livestock is responsible for 60% of agricultural emissions worldwide.

Another user said: ‘Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, shouldn’t law societies take the lead in removing meat, fish and dairy from the menu at events?’

The dish with the highest carbon footprint is Scottish haggis, neeps and tatties, which produces the equivalent of 3.4 kg of CO2. The dish consists of haggis (a savory pudding made from mutton liver, heart and lungs), Scottish turnip and potatoes with a mustard sauce.

The conference also serves a locally sourced beef, root vegetable and oat burger, topped with cabbage, coleslaw and burger sauce. The meal produces 3.3 kg of CO2, which increases to 3.4 when a slice of Scottish cheddar cheese is added.

Many plant-based options have a significantly lower carbon footprint. For example, organic kale and seasonal vegetable pasta with vegan turkey meatballs produces 0.3 kg of CO2.

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