UN climate summit: initiatives to reduce carbon emissions

September 22nd 2014

Enrique Garcia

Enrique Garcia

Tomorrow 23 September, more than 120 Heads of State and Government, finance, business, and civil society will be attending a very special one-day Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the summit strives to generate political will toward a meaningful universal climate agreement in 2015.

The objective of the Summit is that these leaders bring bold announcements and actions that will reduce carbon emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.1

Stella McCartney, Gregory Barker and Mary McCartney

© Peter John Morgan 2014. Stella McCartney, Gregory Barker and Mary McCartney.

One of the initiatives to be announced at the Climate Summit will be the ‘Meat Free Monday Climate Pledge’ initiative (#MFMclimatepledge), an online campaign launched on September 08 in the UK by the McCartney family and Rt Hon Gregory Barker MP. 2 This campaign aims to encourage people to skip meat one day a week in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help tackle climate change.3 Meat production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization4, with some scientists saying the percentage is higher. It also requires increasingly unsustainable levels of precious resources (land, water and energy) and is a major contributor towards global environmental degradation and climate change.

A weekly meat free day is a simple but significant action that everyone can take to cut global emissions. And, with diet-related diseases on the rise, an increased consumption of plant-based food has the added benefit of improved health and could potentially help reduce healthcare costs in the long term.

At WWF we are happy to support Meat Free Monday, and endorse moves to reduce meat consumption, our work focuses on the need to look at diets in the round and to transform the way we approach food as part of the ‘food system’. Through our LiveWell for LIFE project, WWF is working towards making the shift towards sustainable diets as part of everyday eating. We support meat reduction campaigns and endorse messages that raise awareness of the impact meat has on the planet. We advocate moving towards more plant-based eating every day, not just on one day per week.

Read more on WWF-UK work on food

Enrique Garcia
LiveWell Stakeholder Relations Manager – WWF-UK


1“UN Climate Summit 2014”. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/

2He is former Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change and now Climate Advisor to David Cameron.

3“Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney join forces with Greg Barker MP to launch Meat Free Monday climate pledge campaign. Retrieved September 18 2014. from http://www.meatfreemondays.com/news/paul-mary-stella-mccartney-join-forces-greg-barker-mp-launch-meat-free-monday-climate-pledge-campaign/

4 Gerber PJ, et al., Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome (2013).

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