Search icon


04th Nov 2021

COP26 menu likened to ‘serving cigarettes at lung cancer conference’

Danny Jones

The food they’re serving doesn’t even remotely fit into the climate targets they’re setting out

More criticism of world leaders and politicians this week as COP26 is being heavily criticised by climate activists over its food selection, with some describing it as the equivalent of “serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference”.

The COP26 menu was obtained by like of The Big Issue and Animal Rebellion, with the latter slamming attendees and organisers for serving up dishes with a heavy side of hypocrisy, insisting that what was on offer was well above the WWF’s CO2 per meal.

While we aren’t going to be so brazen as to outright shame world politicians for eating meat (everyone is being urged to cut down or go vegan but around 86 per cent of us still consumes animal products) they do look to have gone fairly meat-heavy at this year’s event.

While the key message of cutting down on meat and many other huge carbon-producing factors is very much the main course, it seems a bit rich to serve up thousands of plates of haggis, venison, burgers and even more lavish dishes for dessert. Here’s just a taste of what’s on the COP26 menu:

Scottish staples though they might be, much of what is available is essentially the epitome of the quintessential British plate: meat and two veg – a message that, traditional as it might be, isn’t exactly the blueprint for the food of the future.

Beef and red meat in general seems to be the cornerstone on the menu, with each dish given an apparently meaningless label next to it indicating a “not quite full” CO2 meter, despite nearly everything being comfortably overly the recommended limit.

Some ingredients matched the entire amount of emissions produced by one meal in the UK.

Carnivorous cravings aside, you would think whoever was in charge of sorting out the food at the most important climate conference in history would have taken a slightly more tactful approach. Haggis is literally meat stuffed within meat, after all.

This adds more fuel to the fire with regards to the belief that these “impassioned” sentiments of urgency and wanting to take responsibility are largely performative and that politicians like Boris Johnson know they need to put out an environmentally-friendly face even if they’re still flying back to London rather than waiting for a train.

Related links: