Billie Eilish, Moby and Joaquin Phoenix demand that COP26 stop ignoring the role of animal agriculture in the climate crisis


This week, a group of 18 famous plant advocates, including Billie Eilish, Moby, Joaquin Phoenix, Alan Cumming, Evanna Lynch and Alicia Silverstone, sent an urgent letter of request to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma, the president of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, UK, in November. The letter called on Sharma to include the role of animal agriculture in all discussions on the climate crisis. While animal agriculture has been largely ignored as a talking point in previous climate talks, the celebrity-backed letter of demand points out that the destructive industry contributes 14.5 to 16.5 percent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world, making it the second largest GHG emitter in the world, on par with all transport sectors combined.

“Animal agriculture being such a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is impossible to meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement without making changes to our global food system,” the letter said. “Even if all the other major sources of programming were reformed, we still won’t be up to the task. Scientists agree, including the 107 experts who prepared the report for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We are on the verge of climate catastrophe, and as famous climate activist Greta Thunberg once said, “our house is on fire”.

The letter was sent to support #TheCowIntheRoom, a campaign created by Humane Society International (HSI) to add discussions on animal agriculture to the COP26 agenda. The celebrities and HSI are begging Sharma to include three specific talking points at the climate conference:

  • Shift subsidies and financial incentives from animal production to more sustainable crop farming, thereby supporting a just transition in the agricultural sector
  • Encourage investments in the development of alternatives to animal agriculture and create a regulatory environment conducive to innovation in the protein landscape
  • Modify government procurement priorities to encourage and demonstrate GHG reduction pathways within the public sector

The role of animal agriculture in the climate crisis

Globally, more than 88 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year. While the industry uses 83 percent of the world’s agricultural land, it provides only 37 percent of the world’s protein and accounts for just 18 percent of calories. Animal agriculture is also responsible for deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, pollution and depletion of water resources. Unless humanity makes a radical change, by 2030 the animal agriculture sector is expected to account for almost half of the global emissions budget for 1.5 ° C.

“If we are serious about averting a climate catastrophe, it is imperative that world leaders recognize and act to eliminate all the major drivers of climate change, including factory farming of animals,” said Julie Janovsky, vice president of HSI for the welfare of farm animals, in a press release. “Intensive animal husbandry is not sustainable, and transforming our global food systems to more plant-based diets is one of the most effective climate mitigation actions we can take. COP26 provides a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity and help end the cruelty caused by factory farms. “

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All of the letter’s signatories, including Eilish, Moby and Phoenix, are on a plant-based diet, which a 2018 Oxford study – the most comprehensive of its kind to date – found to be “the greatest way “to reduce global consumption. destruction of the environment. To reach this conclusion, the researchers spent five years compiling data from nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries and examining the environmental impact of producing 40 foods, which represents 90 percent of all food consumed. on earth. Published in the journal Science, the study found that if people removed animal products from their diet, they would reduce their carbon footprint by 73%. In addition, if the production of meat and dairy products ceased, global agricultural land use would be reduced by 75 percent.

“The intensive breeding of animals for food is simply destroying our planet… yet it remains largely ignored by world leaders. The science is clear and overwhelming; that adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most effective steps we can take to prevent catastrophic climate change, ”Moby said in a statement. “So if we want to protect our planet, we have to include intensive animal agriculture in climate change mitigation strategies. COP26 is the perfect opportunity to do so and one of our last vital changes to reform our global food systems. I beg you, please; Stop ignoring the cow in the room.

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Changing diet to fight climate change

September 16, new movie Eat our way to extinction debuted in theaters around the world just in time for COP26. Told by Titanic actress Kate Winslet and created by UK-based sibling duo Ludo and Otto Brockway (through their production company Broxstar Productions), the new documentary feature puts animal farming at the center of the crisis climate.

The film shows the effects of climate change on those who feel it the most, including indigenous Amazon tribes whose lands were stolen to grow food for the beef industry. Eat our way to extinction also sheds light on the health and environmental issues surrounding the global fishing industry, continuing the topics explored in Netflix’s recent documentary Seaspiracy.

The film’s message is based on the best available science and highlights the widespread adoption of a plant-based diet as one of the best solutions to the climate crisis – a change championed by both the #TheCowinTheRoom campaign of HSI and the Simultaneous Plant Treaty (PBT) co-founded by vegan activist Anita Kranjc.

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Similar to the HSI campaign, the PBT is based on three principles: give up (stop allocating resources to develop animal agriculture); reorient (to actively move from animal agriculture to plant agriculture); and restore (a push to restore ecosystems destroyed by animal agriculture). The PBT campaign has already garnered support from influential people and the goal is to get 10 million people, 10,000 organizations, 10,000 businesses and 50 cities to approve PBT by 2023, ahead of the Global Review. Paris Agreement.

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