MPs demand end to animal agriculture and plant-based transition ahead of COP26

By Nicola Harris, Communications Director, Plant Based Treaty

A group of MPs in the UK from six parties have welcomed the new Plant Based Treaty initiative in an Early Day Motion ahead of Novembers’ UN Climate Change Conference aka COP26.

On 9th August 2021, UN Secretary General António Guterres declared a code red for humanity following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th assessment report.

Scientists warned that we need to cut methane emissions urgently to avoid widespread climate collapse. While carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) usually grab the headlines, methane heats the world far quicker and has a warming potential more than 80 times stronger. Inger Anderson from the UN Environment Program says, “cutting methane emissions is the best way to slow climate change over the next 25 years.”

The solution?

A Plant-Based Treaty.

Dubbed a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement, the Plant Based Treaty which launched on 31st August 2021 is a grassroots initiative which aims to direct the Paris Agreement towards a plantbased economy and put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis.

Modeled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant- Based Treaty addresses the methane emergency and aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable plant-based diets.

The do-it-together movement, which is backed by IPCC scientists, Dr Peter Carter of the Climate Emergency Institute and Professor Danny Harvey, lead author on the 4th and 5th Assessment Reports, Working Group III, urges individuals, groups, businesses and cities to endorse the Plant Based Treaty as a means of creating bottom up pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty.

Plant Based Treaty Endorsement Goals by 2023

10,000,000 individuals

10,000 businesses

10,000 organisations

50 cities

Add your name: plantbasedtreaty.org

I endorse the Plant Based Treaty because it addresses the single largest sources of GHG emissions in a two-pronged manner that parallels exactly what needs to be done with regard to fossil fuel emissions: freezing further development, and unwinding existing intensive industrial systems that produce cheap meat and dairy at the expense of enormous animal suffering.

– Danny Harvey, IPCC Lead Author on the 4th and 5th Assessment Reports, Working Group III.

The campaign calls on governments and policymakers to urgently commence negotiations to adopt and implement a Plant Based Treaty, laying out a binding global plan to:

1. Relinquish Committing to no land use change, ecosystem degradation or deforestation for the purpose of animal agriculture.

2. Redirect Actively transition away from animal based food systems to more sustainable plant-based food systems. As well as:

3. Restore Actively restoring key ecosystems and reforesting the Earth.

How would an international Plant Based Treaty work?

Phasing out both fossil fuels and animal agriculture along with reforestation of Earth is our best hope of limiting global temperature rises. The Paris Agreement, which aims to limit temperature rises to 1.5C is silent on both fossil fuels and animal agriculture, which is why we need an amendment to this global agreement in order to focus on solutions.

If we only draw down fossil fuels and ignore animal ag, it’ll all be in vain.

– Shaun Monson, director of Earthlings

We are now facing an unprecedented existential threat. Earth’s average global temperature has risen around 1.2C above pre-industrial levels due to record breaking concentrations of greenhouse gases and is wreaking havoc on communities across the globe. This year, we have experienced record breaking heat waves, floods, droughts, extreme weather and crop failures. July 2021 was the hottest month on record. The frightening reality is that this year’s temperatures may in fact be one of the coolest when we look back a decade from now. According to IPCC projections we are on a path to reach 1.5C warming above pre industrial levels around 2030 and a catastrophic 2C by 2040 unless we take urgent action to address the climate breakdown.

You can help by signing the Plant Based Treaty

The Plant Based Treaty depends on people power and brings together all actors under one call to action to world leaders. So head on over to:

plantbasedtreaty.org

…to add your name. Since launch over 11,000 individuals, 400 organisations, 200 businesses have already endorsed along with scientists, celebrities and health professionals.

Will the rise of veganism translate into political will?

There is a growing awareness that becoming vegan is the most impactful action an individual can take for animals, the planet and health. A recent BBC survey found that more than 60% of children in the UK aged five to 16 are either vegan, vegetarian or want to be. Another global study revealed that nearly 60 percent of young people are willing to ‘drastically’ change their lifestyle to protect the planet.

With this in mind, if plant-based solutions were adopted at a policy level on a global scale through a Plant Based Treaty this shift could be accelerated and many of the world’s problems could be addressed.

Since the campaign launch, the Plant Based Treaty has attracted the support of politicians worldwide. One of the first to sign the treaty was Mexican Senator Jesusa Rodriguez, along with eight Members of the European Party (MEPs). Following an email action alert 10% of Bristol City Councillors endorsed.

EDM 434

14 MPs from six parties have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) welcoming the Plant Based Treaty, calling on the government to roll out a plan to transition to a plantbased economy.

Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for South Shields and primary sponsor of EDM 434, was also the first Member of Parliament to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.

“I’m proud to be the first MP to endorse the Plant Based Treaty and pleased to have brought forward an EDM on this hugely important issue. Whether you’re vegan or not, this EDM is about raising awareness of how the climate crisis is a real threat to humanity and encouraging others to think about how we can all do our bit by making changes to our lifestyles that would help protect our planet for future generations to come.”

To know if someone really wants to fight for justice, you have to see what they eat.

– Senator Jesusa Rodriguez, Mexico

The full text of EDM 434 reads:

“This House welcomes the Plant-Based Treaty aiming to put food systems at the heart of combating the climate crisis by encouraging a shift to healthier and sustainable plant-based diets, while simultaneously working to reverse the damage to ecosystems and biodiversity; and, calls on the government to use COP26 in Glasgow as an opportunity to be a world leader in recognizing the negative impact of industrial animal agriculture on climate change and commit to developing a global strategy to transition towards more sustainable plant-based food systems.”

Other supporters of EDM 434 include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Labour’s former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Glasgow South West MP Chris Stevens, Christine Jardine Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat, and Liberal Democratic MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse.

First Cities to endorse Plant Based Treaty

During the first month of campaigning, two cities endorsed the Plant Based Treaty. Rosario, which is the third largest in Argentia endorsed at a climate rally along with the city university and the City of Boynton Beach, Florida endorsed because they are promoting plant-based foods as part of their climate action plan.

What more can you do?

1. Visit plantbasedtreaty.org to endorse the treaty as an individual, group or business.

2. Invite your city to endorse the Plant Based Treaty by taking part in our email action alerts on our website.

3. Email hello@plantbasedtreaty.org to start a Plant Based Treaty group in your town.

plantbasedtreaty.org