Cop27 in Egypt: Activists Hit Out at VIP Menu Featuring Beef, Chicken, Fish And Dairy Products

World leaders and delegates jetting into Egypt for the Cop27 climate conference will be able to dine out on £90 mushroom sauce covered beef medallions – and sip on fancy bottomless cocktails – 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.

World leaders and delegates jetting into Egypt for the Cop27 climate conference will be able to dine out on £90 mushroom sauce covered beef medallions - and sip on fancy bottomless cocktails - while facing calls to cut down on meat consumption to save the planet
Those with a taste for the luxurious can snap up a mushroom sauce covered angus beef medallion for a pricey $100 (£90) or a creamy salmon for $40 (£35), after scoffing back a $50 (£43) seafood platter for starter
Delegates and world leaders looking for an after-dinner tipple can bag a $50 (£43) one-hour unlimited drinks package - including beer and red and white wines
Officials who land a spot at the conference's exclusive VIP restaurant will be able to dine out on an eye-opening array of pricey meat and fish dishes served up during the 12-day climate emergency conference in Sharm el-Sheik this week

‘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.

The luxurious menu is part of the VIP restaurant package in the area's Blue Zone - where official negotiations take place. Breakfast menus include an 'Egg Station' serving eggs 'in any style' as well as a savoury area with grilled sausages. Pictured: The breakfast menu
Breakfast menus include an 'Egg Station' serving eggs 'in any style' as well as a savoury area with grilled sausages

Breakfast menus include an ‘Egg Station’ serving eggs ‘in any style’ as well as a savoury area with grilled sausages.

HOW DOES EATING MEAT AND DAIRY HURT THE PLANET? 

Eating meat, eggs and dairy products hurts the environment in a number of different ways.

Cows, pigs and other farm animals release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. While there is less methane in the atmosphere than other greenhouse gases, it is around 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

Raising livestock also means converting forests into agricultural land, meaning CO2-absorbing trees are being cut down, further adding to climate change. More trees are cut down to convert land for crop growing, as around a third of all grain produced in the world is used to feed animals raised for human consumption. 

Factory farms and crop growing also requires massive amounts of water, with 542 litres of water being used to produce just a single chicken breast.

As well as this, the nitrogen-based fertiliser used on crops adds to nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is around 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere. These fertilisers can also end up in rivers, further adding to pollution. 

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.

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!'

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.

Sunak joins COP27 summit with Sturgeon demanding ‘reparations’ to climate-change hit states and ministers refusing to rule out payments… but Boris warns UK can’t afford it 

Rishi Sunak joined the COP27 summit today urging a ‘global mission for clean growth’ – but is facing a growing row about ‘reparations’ to states hit by climate change.

The PM is in Egypt for the gathering – his first test on the foreign stage since entering No10 – having U-turned on his original decision not to attend.

But the event is promising to be tricky as developing countries demand payouts for extreme weather events caused by climate change – at the same time as the UK imposes swingeing austerity and tax rises at home.

Nicola Sturgeon – who has also jetted in for the summit – upped the pressure this morning, saying there is an ‘obligation’ on countries that industrialised first to help ‘deal with the impacts’. 

Rishi Sunak meets Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson during the Cop27 summit at Sharm el-Sheikh

Business Secretary Grant Shapps pointedly refused to rule out the idea, saying the UK is ‘supportive of discussions’ taking place at Sharm El-Sheikh.

However, former PM Boris Johnson told a fringe event that Britain ‘simply doesn’t have the financial resources’ to pay reparations and ‘no country does’.

While admitting that the UK had contributed vast carbon emissions, he argued that the focus should be on finding private investment and technological solutions. ‘Let’s look to the future,’ he added.

Mr Sunak could have an awkward encounter with his predecessor later, although the premier insisted there is ‘no hatchet to be buried’. 

Downing Street said Mr Sunak is looking to set the seal on last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow with more than £200million in UK funding to protect forests and invest in ‘green’ technologies.

Mr Sunak’s attendance at the gathering in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh alongside leaders such as US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron marks his first outing on the international stage since becoming PM last month.

In interviews yesterday, shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband stressed it would also be in Britain’s ‘self-interest’ to boost aid to developing countries.

But, while he highlighted both Pakistan and the Maldives as possible recipients of ‘loss and damage’ payments, he denied it would also see China handed cash.

Mr Miliband also shied away from describing payments to developing countries as ‘reparations’ for climate change damage, adding that ‘lots of people are allergic to the term ‘reparations”.

A debate over ‘loss and damage’ is expected to be a key issue at the Cop-27 summit, with developing countries having already made demands ahead of the Egypt gathering.

The G77+ China group of nations are also set to repeat their call for a dedicated financing facility for loss and damage. 

Ms Sturgeon said there was an ‘obligation’ on richer countries that have largely caused climate change to help those suffering the impact of it.

She told the BBC: ‘I think this Cop is an opportunity for the global north and the global south to come together and have a proper, grown-up conversation about how we make progress.

‘We’ve got to mitigate climate change, we’ve got to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, but as we’ve seen over the past year, not least in Pakistan, there are many parts of the world that are suffering loss and damage now that is irreversible and can’t be mitigated against.

‘There is an obligation in the spirit of solidarity for the richer countries that have largely caused climate change to now make a big effort to help those dealing with the impacts address that.’

However, the PM’s official spokesman said there was no question of ‘reparations’.

‘We are already helping countries across the world deal with the impacts of climate change and recognise the existential threat it poses to countries around the world from flooding to drought,’ the spokesman said.

‘That’s why we’ve made a commitment to these countries to support them on that front.

‘As we said over the weekend, we’re tripling funding for climate adaptation.

Rishi Sunak chats to Israel's President Isaac Herzog at the COP27 summit in Egypt today

‘That’s from £500million to £1.5billion in 2025. And the Prime Minister is confirming £65million in funding for the Nature, People and Climate Investment Fund – that supports indigenous and local forest communities.

‘My understanding is that neither reparations or liabilities is what’s being discussed at Cop-27.

‘It’s about working together to support climate vulnerable countries as I set out.’

He added: ‘We’re not talking about reparations or liability we are talking about continuing to provide that support for countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.’

Reporting by The Daily Mail.