Media outlets are finally calling out the hypocrisy of the United Nations’ climate conference, but not for the obvious reasons like the amount of carbon emissions produced by world leaders using individual private jets to fly around the world to attend.
Instead, media outlets have focused on the amount of meat available to attendees. The Hill reported that environmental activists have criticized the menu for the meat it served, some of which “come with large carbon footprints.”
From The Hill:
The menu for the high-level climate conference was released online at arecipeforchange.co.uk, listing the carbon footprint next to each item.
Organizers included a note on the menu saying the average meal in the U.K., where the conference is being held, has a carbon footprint of 1.7 kg CO2e and said this number should be brought down to 0.5 kg CO2e in order to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals.
Despite this, many menu items exceeded this carbon footprint — the summit’s haggis dish recorded a carbon footprint of 3.4 kg CO2e, twice that of an average meal in the U.K.
The conference had a separate menu for burgers, half of of which had nearly the same carbon footprint as the haggis, though the other burgers were listed as having carbon footprints significantly below the national British average.
The Sun reported that the carbon footprint for one $17 burger “accounts for a whopping 3.9kg C02 equivalent emissions (ee) figure.”
“According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that’s the same amount of carbon released by an average car driving nearly 10 miles,” the outlet added.
Joel Scott-Halkes, spokesperson for the activist organization Animal Rebellion, told The Big Issue magazine that the “utterly reckless inclusion of meat, seafood and dairy on the COP26 catering menu is a damning indictment of the UK government’s utter failure to grasp the root cause of the climate crisis.”
Scott-Halkes also tweeted: “This is the equivalent of serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. Only when governments grasp animal agriculture’s central role in the #climate crisis will we stand a chance of solving it.”
Complaining about the menu at the climate conference is nothing new. In 2018, Huffpost published an article titled, “The Meat-Heavy Menu At The UN’s Climate Conference Shows Shocking Hypocrisy.”
“The meat-laden menu at COP24 is an insult to the work of the conference,” Stephanie Feldstein, director of the population and sustainability program at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the outlet at the time. “We can’t afford to be serving up cheeseburgers at climate conferences if we’re going to have an honest conversation about the role of food in the climate crisis.”
Mia MacDonald, executive director of Brighter Green, told the outlet that she was “not hugely surprised that the menu at COP24 is meat- and dairy-heavy, but it sends a strange and unhelpful message nonetheless.”
“At the Paris climate talks it was really hard to eat as a vegan. I kept asking myself, what’s Al Gore eating? Turns out he took a packed lunch with him from his hotel each day!” she added.
Even as these activists focused on the food, very few others outside conservative media have noted the hypocrisy of world leaders flying across the world to an event about climate change, yet another sign that they don’t view climate change as the threat they claim.