Sustainability / Environment

US Congressman Accuses UN of “Anti-Beef Strategy” Amid Warnings of Climate Diet Denial Post COP28

Following the commitments made at COP28 to reduce agricultural emissions, food awareness organization ProVeg International has warned of a new phenomenon — climate diet denial.

One of the outcomes of COP28 was the publication of the FAO’s Roadmap to 1.5°C, which calls for measures that would decrease meat consumption. The report prompted US Congressman Mike Flood to issue a statement complaining that the United Nations has adopted an “anti-beef strategy”; he subsequently introduced a Resolution into Congress opposing the allocation of any Federal funds towards initiatives that would reduce meat consumption.

“The evidence shows that the production of beef is causing huge harm to the environment”

According to ProVeg, this is an example of climate diet denial. While climate change denial involves claiming that human activity is not contributing to rising temperatures, climate diet denial means refusing to acknowledge the impact of the food system — particularly animal agriculture — on climate change.

SwissVeg cows

“Ever broader consensus”

This year’s COP summit saw food system change take center stage for the first time, with huge steps forward such as the Emirates Declaration — signed by over 140 countries — which encourages the integration of food system transformation into climate plans. There was also a health declaration emphasizing a reduction in meat consumption, and the summit featured predominantly plant-based catering. However, meat industry lobbyists were also present at COP28, attempting to push a “pro-meat message”.

“There is an ever broader consensus among the scientific community that the need to shift to more plant-based diets is crucial to mitigate climate change,” said Jasmijn de Boo, Global CEO of ProVeg International. “The evidence shows, in particular, that the production of beef is causing huge harm to the environment, not just in terms of methane and other emissions but also in terms of deforestation for the production of cattle feed and the creation of grazing land along with vast amounts of water usage. The high appetite for beef and large imports by Western nations fuels massive land, forest, and biodiversity loss, and pollution in the global south. This is as much a social justice issue as it is a climate issue.

“To deny the impact of beef on the environment in the way Congressman Flood is doing will delay the action we need to take in order to keep within the globally agreed temperature limits. We have seen the harm that climate change denial causes. We are now witnessing climate diet denial, which is equally counterproductive.”

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