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Billed as the most important talks between nations of our lifetime, COP26 provided a vital opportunity for our world leaders to agree on urgently needed action to save our planet.

Along with many welcome pledges, this high-profile international opportunity to agree on solutions also resulted in frustrations – including the fact that meat was on the conference menu rather than being discussed and tackled on the agenda.

This is despite the fact that the world’s livestock alone produces more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the direct emissions of the world’s planes, trains, and cars combined.

During the conference, we launched a new report, “Breaking the Taboo: Why Diets Must Change to Tackle Climate Emergency” which outlines the clear scientific case that without a dramatic reduction in meat and dairy consumption, we will be unable to meet the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Unfortunately, these warnings were largely ignored and although we welcomed the fact that the COP26 agreement addresses certain urgent agricultural issues, such as the need to reduce methane and deforestation, several vital food system issues were completely ignored.

For example, the COP Methane Pledge makes no reference to the need to reduce global cattle numbers and the Deforestation Declaration fails to recognise that we must halt the use of soy to feed factory-farmed animals if we are to stop the destruction of the Amazon.

Instead of embracing one of the clear, ready-made solutions to climate change in ending factory farming and reducing meat consumption, governments appear to have chosen to rely on innovation and technology to continue ‘business as usual’.

Worryingly, an assessment by The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) released at COP26 showed that despite carbon-cutting announcements at the conference, the world is still on course for a temperature rise of 2.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Bold, ambitious changes that are properly implemented are needed to safeguard the future of our planet. Visit Global Solutions to learn more about how this can be achieved.

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