World leaders and delegates at COP27 will be able to dine on beef medallions and salmon, while facing calls to cut down on meat consumption to save the planet.
Officials who land a spot at the conference’s exclusive VIP restaurant will be able to dine out on an array of pricey meat and fish dishes served up during the 12-day climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh this week. Those with a taste for the luxurious can snap up an Angus beef medallion with sautéed potatoes for a pricey $100 (£90) or a creamy salmon for $40 (£35), after scoffing back a $50 (£43) seafood platter for starter.
Delegates looking for an after-dinner tipple can bag a $50 (£43) one-hour unlimited drinks package – including beer and red and white wines. And those with a sweeter-tooth can pay as much as $125 (£110) for 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails – including fruit and rum punch, a classic margarita and a pina colada.
It comes as climate change activists continue to call for the world to cut down on meat and fish to save the planet, while at last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, the UK’s Chief Scientist Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, called on people to adjust their meat eating and flying habits.
One group, Animal Rebellion, which campaigns for animal and climate justice, described the menu as a ‘slap in the face’ – particularly in regards to the ongoing cost of living crisis. Nathan McGovern, who has volunteered with the charity for a year, told MailOnline: ‘These so called leaders are swanning off to Egypt and there’s no real action going to be taken, just lots of words. ‘The scientists are coming to the conclusion that we need to be switching from an animal-based diet to a plant based food system. These world leaders need to look like they believe them. This just looks like do what I say and not what I do.’
Mr McGovern also took aim at the inclusion of foods such as salmon, which are found in the Atlantic thousands of miles from Egypt. He said: ‘North Africa has some brilliant plant-based foods, like falafel and couscous, why do they need to ship in Salmon from the Atlantic?’
A spokesperson for The Vegan Society added: ‘It’s really disappointing that such a significant climate change event as COP27 is serving up high environmental impact meat and fish sourced from another continent. This is a real missed opportunity for world leaders to connect the issues of diet and climate and lead by example in showcasing a delicious, low impact, plant-based menu to highlight how such changes can make a huge difference to the future of the planet.’
The luxurious menu is part of the VIP restaurant package in the area’s Blue Zone – where official negotiations take place. In the restaurant, COP27 attendees can enjoy an a la carte menu featuring soup, starters, a main dish, desert and an additional hot and cold drinks package.
In total, across the Blue Zone there are four main coffee stations, a number of grab-and-go areas where delegates can pick up sandwiches and salads and food courts offering buffet style lunches and breakfasts.
Breakfast menus include an ‘Egg Station’ serving eggs ‘in any style’ as well as a savoury area with grilled sausages. Lunch menus include mini hamburgers, as well as vegetarian alternatives, crusted fish fillet, as well as more local dishes including tabbouleh.
There are also pricey drinks packages, including £125 cocktail bar deals which allow delegates to enjoy unlimited cocktails for up to 90 minutes, with a variety of snacks. Delegates can also knock back unlimited beer and wine in the bars for one hour for £45, while a special Boudin-style tent has been set up to serve local teas and sweet treats.
The menus are all posted by Cop Gourmet, the provider of Cop27’s official catering provider, on the climate conference’s website. But the menu choices have come under fire online, including by one Twitter user, who shared a picture of the VIP package. They wrote: ‘Cop27 Food Menu – where they will decide you must eat less meat. ‘Here’s the VIP food menu for today. Very erm… meaty with a dash of dairy obvs!’
MailOnline contacted Cop27 for a comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
It is not the first time the Cop menu has come under fire. Last year, animal rights groups compared offering meat and dairy at the climate summit to ‘serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’. The Government promised the food served to delegates would be almost 60 percent meat and dairy based and sourced from Scottish farms. But critics pointed out that some of the dishes, including the burger and mozarella pizza, had a carbon footprint of 2.1 to 3.9kg Co2. The menu’s lowest carbon options were meat free – including a kale and vegetable pasta dish which created just 0.3kg of carbon per serving.
At last year’s Glasgow Conference, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, called for a push towards people eating less meat. He said: ‘There will be a move away from the extent of meat eating we’ve seen in the past, and I think we will all need to think about our flying habits.
‘But of course, coupled to that, there’s also technological advances, so as options for green transport become real that will change again. One of the climate challenge is it’s a series of small things from all of us that turn into a big change. Those little things that appear like they’re not very much are important when they are aggregated across many many millions of people.’
The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises the government on emissions targets, has previously said meat and dairy consumption must fall by 20 per cent by 2030, and 35 per cent by 2050, in order to achieve the UK’s net zero target.
Animal farming is estimated to contribute around 5.8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, trap some of the Earth’s outgoing energy, thus retaining heat in the atmosphere and warming up the planet.
However, not all scientists agree on savage cuts to meat production – which would put whole industries at risk and jobs with them. Earlier this year, should instead be on finding futuristic ways of slashing greenhouse gases in farming to save the planet, a leading expert has claimed.
Professor Mick Watson, who specialises in methane reduction strategies in cattle, told MailOnline that lower-emission cows being bred by geneticists and the wider use of ‘methane inhibitor’ food additives were two effective options. The latter claims to reduce the amount of the gas that the animals emit when they graze by 30 per cent.
Professor Watson said shifts to plant-based diets could help to reduce emissions but cautioned that there was ‘no sign that it is happening quickly enough to make a difference’. Much like the government, he rubbished the idea that telling Britons to eat less beef, pork and lamb was crucial for the UK to achieve its net zero target, adding: ‘Consumers are showing no desire to reduce meat and dairy consumption.’
Meanwhile, one in four adults are eating less meat, not to save the plant, but instead to try and save money, a survey found. Around 70 per cent are taking general action to deal with price rises, found a survey by Public First. Some 65 per cent are going out less, 46 per cent are driving less and 28 per cent are reducing the amount of meat they eat. Beef and chicken have seen particularly sharp price increases in the past year.
Original source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk