Please note this event will take place online via Zoom. Attendees will need to have a Zoom account to access the webinar, a free Zoom account can be set up at registration.
Dr Tara Garnett, TABLE, University of Oxford
Paula Feehan, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London
This event forms part of the COP26@City programme, a series of events and actions which demonstrate City’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact and playing our part in responding to the global climate challenge.
COP26 is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties and this year it will take place in Glasgow between 31 October – 12 November. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UN climate meeting in Glasgow, COP26, is one of humanity’s last opportunities to work collectively to limit global warming to less than 2°C. The Centre for Food Policy marks the occasion with a special ‘Food Climate Thinkers’ event, bringing together the reflective voices of a veteran analyst and a Food Policy student.
Food and climate breakdown are inextricably linked. Food systems are responsible for around one third of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and represent some of the most important routes to reducing emissions and stabilizing the climate. The fact that we now take this for granted is due in part to Tara Garnett, who more than two decades ago set up a small NGO, the Food Climate Research Network, to highlight the connections. The FCRN has now expanded into Table, which continues the work. In this talk, Tara will reflect on how perceptions of the issue have changed over time, and how she learned that assumptions and values are as important as facts in the process of enabling change.
Meanwhile, though a growing body of research provides evidence on the potential of dietary change to help tackle climate change, food – and particularly consumption – has historically received less consideration in climate policy than, say, the energy and transport sectors. Paula Feehan’s research looked at the extent to which food consumption featured in selected countries ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ – the targets that nations at the COP commit to working towards as part of the global effort to rein in climate change. Paula asks, has evidence about the importance of dietary change been integrated into national climate plans? If not, why not, and what are the potential pathways for change?
Tara Garnett set up the Food Climate Research Network, one of the first organisations in the UK to focus on the links between the food system and climate change. She is now Director of Table, a collaboration between the University of Oxford, Wageningen University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which acts as global platform for knowledge synthesis, reflective, critical thinking, and inclusive dialogue on the future of food. Her work, and her numerous publications, focus on the contribution the food system makes to greenhouse gas emissions and the scope for reduction. She is particularly interested in the relationship between emissions reduction objectives and other social and ethical concerns, particularly human health, livelihoods, and animal welfare.
Paula is completing her Master’s in Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London. She previously worked for Oxfam as Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, and for ActionAid as Head of Strategy and Planning, and has worked in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. During her time at these NGOs, she became interested in the critical importance of food, food justice and how the current food system is failing humans, animals and the environment. The MSc provided an opportunity to find out more about the interconnectedness of food within economic, political, and social systems. She is looking forward to applying a food systems approach to advocacy for a fairer food future.
The talk will be followed by an online Q&A session.