Published 07 October 2021)Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2293
Excerpts: The UK government, for example, though among the first to set a legally binding target of net zero by 2050, has so far fully implemented only 11 of 92 policy recommendations from its climate change committee and is not on track to meet net zero or the medium term carbon budgets.
Dietary change is likely to deliver far greater environmental benefits than can be achieved by food producers. Similarly, for land travel, reducing demand for high emission vehicles would deliver important reductions: sport utility vehicles were responsible for the second-largest increase (after power) of global carbon emissions between 2010 and 2018Changing behaviour of the public at scale.
Adopting the largely plant based planetary health diet12 and taking most journeys using a combination of walking, cycling, and public transport would substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our health.
For example, to meet the planetary health diet recommendations, average meat consumption in Africa can slightly increase (2%), whereas in North America and Europe it needs to fall by 79% and 68%, respectively
Sustainable land travel will involve substantially fewer journeys by car and more journeys taken by foot, bicycle, and public transport, ensuring that all transport is carbon neutral and powered by renewable energy. This requires a transformation of the energy sector and transport infrastructure, prioritising active and public transport over road building.
In France, President Macron’s government has not fully enacted the French citizen assembly’s recommendations. For example, its proposal to end all domestic flights for journeys that would take less than four hours by rail was lowered to journeys taking 2.5 hours.
Towards a fair transitioned future
Complex coordinated behaviour can be mobilised by a shared, positive narrative, reflecting collective goals, alongside a clear vision, making vivid the many benefits of a net zero world, with a roadmap and timelines. The development of such a vision—both global and regional—is a priority and requires co-creation by citizens, governments, and industries, informed by scientific expertise and protected from corporate interference.
Activities of high carbon industries pose a major threat to effective policies by deflecting or delaying their implementation. Governments and UN bodies, emboldened by citizens and civil society organisations, can and should safeguard policies for a fair and just transition to net zero. COP26 is an opportunity for international binding commitments that rapidly get us back on track for net zero by 2050. With sufficient daring from the world’s governments, the flexibility, creativity, and social nature of human behaviour can achieve a just transition to net zero thereby protecting the health of current and future generations.
Study Calls For Meat And Dairy Price Hikes To Fight Climate Change
BY VICTORIA FRIEDMAN
A report produced by Cambridge University academics has called for foods with so-called high carbon footprints, such as dairy and meat, to be made more expensive in order to save the planet.
The Cambridge University-led study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says that “education” alone on changing diets towards more plant-based habits and abandoning car ownership is not enough.
The report, “Changing Behaviour for Net Zero 2050” instead suggests there be “rapid, radical changes” to pricing in order to make normal food consumption and travel prohibitively expensive.
“Interventions that decrease the affordability of unhealthy unsustainable options and increase the affordability of healthier sustainable options would also help change public behavior,” the report said, including “using taxes and other price-based mechanisms to reflect the emissions associated with different products and activities”.
“Increase prices of carbon-intense foods, including processed and red meat, dairy products and ultra-processed foods” and “reduce prices of low-processed and plant-based foods”, the report advised, while saying that package sizes and portions for meat, dairy, and other “energy-dense foods” should also be reduced.
Subsidies for livestock farming should also be cut, they said.
The report also claimed that even if public support for taxing meat off their plates was low now, they would accept it once the interventions are implemented, comparing it to the acceptance in large cities of the introduction of congestion charges, “reflecting both changes in attitudes and acceptance of the status quo”.
In forcing people to abandon their cars, the scientists suggest increasing prices of fossil fuels and charging private car owners for road use, including “congestion zone charging and increased parking costs”.
“Restricting availability and attractiveness of car use — eg, car-free zones, limited parking, traffic calming measures, and low-speed limits” was also recommended.
This is not the first time a body has recommended certain foods be taxed. In July, a review by the National Food Strategy group commissioned by the government said salt and sugar used to produce foods or in catering to be taxed.
The NFS stopped short of calling for a meat tax but said that Britons should eat one-third less meat in order for the UK to reach the net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
Millions in taxpayers’ money should go into the development of “alternative proteins” such as lab-grown meat, according to the review, which also recommended fruits and vegetables be prescribed on the NHS.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s initial response to the report was that he did not feel “attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hard-working people, let me just signal that”.
However, the government’s existing environmental and public health proposals could already hurt poorer Britons, according to a report from the Food and Drink Federation from July.
Read rest at Breitbart
Radical measures needed to change unsustainable and unhealthy behaviors for net zero 2050
Rapid and radical changes to systems that currently support unhealthy unsustainable behavior are needed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, argue experts in The BMJ today.
They focus on behavior around diet and land travel, which contribute an estimated 26% and 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions, respectively.
For the public, they explain that adopting a largely plant based diet and taking most journeys using a combination of walking, cycling, and public transport would substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health.
They acknowledge that changing behavior at scale is difficult, but say changing the physical and economic environments that drive the behavior has the most potential to succeed.
They believe the necessary changes to diet and land travel can be achieved through policies that increase the availability and affordability of healthier and more sustainable options.
For example, promoting healthier and more sustainable foods while increasing prices of carbon intensive foods and reducing prices of foods that are less carbon intensive; creating safe and attractive cycling and walking routes; ensuring low cost public transport; and restricting availability and attractiveness of car use.
Changes need to be fair and equitable as well as effective to gain public support, they say. They also need to be driven by evidence and protected from powerful commercial interests.
“Complex coordinated behavior can be mobilized by a shared, positive narrative, reflecting collective goals, alongside a clear vision, making vivid the many benefits of a net zero world,” they write. “The development of such a vision—both global and regional—is a priority and requires co-creation by citizens, governments, and industries, informed by scientific expertise and protected from corporate interference.”
They conclude: “With sufficient daring from the world’s governments, the flexibility, creativity, and social nature of human behavior can achieve a just transition to net zero thereby protecting the health of current and future generations.”