Fossil fuels usually suck up everyone’s attention at the annual United Nations’ climate summit. But at this year’s gathering in Dubai, COP28, another topic is generating headlines: food.
More than 130 countries signed a declaration on Friday saying that the world must transform its food systems, the source of one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, “to respond to the imperatives of climate change.” On Saturday at the conference, the Biden administration announced a national strategy to reduce food waste, a huge emitter of methane. And on December 10, the U.N. is expected to call on countries that consume a lot of meat to eat less of it.
All this news comes after years of prodding from scientists and environmental advocates who say the only path to keep global warming below the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is to do things like limit how much meat we eat in the U.S. and other beef-loving countries. (Livestock alone are responsible for about 15 percent of global climate pollution.)