COP26 criticized for its menu that does not respect the environment

Environmental activists criticize the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) menu for its wide variety of animal products, some of which have significant carbon footprints.

The menu for the high-level climate conference has been posted online at, indicating the carbon footprint next to each item.

Organizers included a note on the menu stating that the average meal in the UK, where the conference is being held, has a carbon footprint of 1.7 kg CO2e and said that number should be reduced to 0.5 kg of CO2e in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. .

Despite this, many dishes exceeded this carbon footprint – the top haggis dish had a carbon footprint of 3.4 kg CO2e, double the average meal in the UK.

The conference offered a separate menu for burgers, half of which had almost the same carbon footprint as the haggis, although the other burgers were listed as having a carbon footprint significantly lower than the UK national average.

“The utterly reckless inclusion of meat, seafood and dairy in the catering menu at COP26 is a damning indictment of the UK government’s utter failure to grasp the root cause of the crisis climate “, Joel Scott-Halkes, spokesperson for the climate and animal justice group. Rebellion, says The big problem magazine.

“It’s the equivalent of serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. Only when governments understand the central role of animal agriculture in the #weather crisis will we have a chance to resolve it, “Scott-Halkes tweeted, with a photo of the menu.

Animal products generally have a higher carbon footprint than plant-based foods due to the greenhouse produced by animals; the land and water needed to raise livestock; and the additional cost of transporting the products.

According to Our world in data, a kilogram of beef produces an average of 100 kg of greenhouse gases, including methane. Lamb, cheese and chocolate are also among the main culinary delinquents.

Overall, the conference served many relatively low carbon footprint dishes, such as salads, wraps and soups, most of which had a carbon footprint of less than 1kg of C02e.

Talk to BloombergFood Campaign Manager at the Center for Biological Diversity Jennifer Molidor said of the COP26 menu: “Overall this is a huge improvement over previous menus. However, she added that “beef has no place in a climate conference.”

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