Feedback’s response to new UK target to reduce emissions
Without addressing the climate damage caused by the food system, we cannot meet climate goals to remain below 1.5°C of warming.
Yesterday’s announcement of a new national target to reduce the UK’s emissions, including from international aviation and shipping, by 78% by 2030, is a welcome indication of the government’s commitment to taking a bold position on climate change.
But with the effects of climate change already being felt around the world, particularly on those who have done least to cause them, ambitious targets to reduce emissions are only the first step. What matters is what the government plans to do to meet them.
Feedback is disappointed to see that the enormous value of pursuing healthy diets lower in meat and dairy, and of halving food waste across the supply chain, is excluded from the government’s plans.
Both these measures have enormous potential, for our health, for the robustness and diversity of our agricultural system and importantly for our ability to rapidly decarbonise. A recent report by the UN highlighted that the food system accounts for over one third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. To put it plainly, even if every other sector of the economy decarbonised, without addressing the climate damage caused by the food system, we cannot meet climate goals to remain below 1.5°C of warming.
The failure to take the enormous opportunity presented by public measures to support greener food choices and prevent waste is particularly disappointing considering that the government’s own expert Committee on Climate Change recommended sustainable dietary shifts as a ‘low cost, no regrets’ option. With COP26 rapidly approaching, the UK is losing an opportunity to demonstrate the seriousness with which it takes the climate crisis, and to employ the most effective tools at its disposal to combat it. We hope, particularly with the publication of the National Food Strategy later this year, that the government will reconsider.
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