Leaders at COP27 have been asked to spell out what, how and when they plan to create sustainable, humane and resilient agriculture and food systems.

An animal rights group has said the world’s richest nations should put their money where their mouth is if they are to remain credible in the climate battle.

The World Animal Protection has applauded the commitment of developed countries under the G20 to tackle climate change, but it has cautioned that actions and not words are what will count.

The G20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising of 19 countries and the European Union. It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. The countries include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union.

Kelly Dent, World Animal Protection’s Director of External Engagement who is attending COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh said it is only right that the largest economies with 85 percent of global GDP and who emit 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions lead by example.

“The world, especially the Global South needs leadership from the G20, as does COP27. The G20 is also home to the four factory farming hotspots, which is the silent climate culprit responsible for not only immense cruelty but also significant methane and other pollutant emissions,” she said. “But transforming their commitments into concrete actions and deep transformation in key sectors is crucial if we are to keep the 1.5C COP26 pledge and 2015 Paris Agreement alive. This means taking action on food systems which are responsible for a third of emissions,” said Dent.

She said the G20 leaders and COP27, must publicly recognise that factory farming is a major contributor to climate change, public health issues, deforestation and other biodiversity loss. According to data from the World Animal Protection, factory farming’s climate footprint includes demand for animal feed production and imported products including animal feed, meat and dairy.

A report on Climate Change and Cruelty released this year by WAP revealed the true extent of unsustainable deforestation caused by factory farming, which it termed as a silent climate culprit. The report indicated that when deforestation to grow feed crops, especially soya for global trade is considered, this doubles the overall climate change impact of factory-farmed meat in the Netherlands. It also increases the impact by more than one and a half times in China.

The report further showed that factory farming in the world’s biggest economies discharges disproportionate emissions with a global impact. This affects countries and communities in less developed areas like Africa, even though they do little to contribute to the problem.

Dent said to address this injustice, governments should promote humane and sustainable food systems. This includes promoting a reduction of meat consumption and increasing protein-rich, plant-based diets. “Planting crops to feed animals in factory farms destroys and locks up land that could be used as wildlife habitat or land that could be used to feed humans directly. So this system is also undermining food security,” she said.

She called on leaders from developed countries to spell out what, how and when they plan to create sustainable, humane and resilient agriculture and food systems. Dent added: “We are also disappointed that the G20 have yet again refused to acknowledge the urgent need to end the commercial wildlife trade in order to minimise pandemics risk.

“Whilst we are pleased the G20 has reaffirmed its commitment to a One Health approach and recognises the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), we cannot prevent future pandemics without addressing the wildlife trade,” she said.

Original source: https://www.the-star.co.ke