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Nudge, Nudge, Say No More (Meat)

(eyup zengin/Getty Images)

The Daily Telegraph:

The [British] Government has established an environmental ‘nudge unit’ to work out how to persuade people into green behaviours such as driving less and cutting down on meat.

The team was set up in April this year because of a recognition that the next phase of decarbonising will require much more personal behaviour change . . .

The new ‘behaviour change and public engagement team’, which is working from inside the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department, is focused on how to get public buy-in for further emissions cuts, which will be targeted at what we eat and how we travel and heat our homes…

The Government has not made any calculations for how much reaching net zero will cost, but the NAO [National Audit Office] said it could ultimately reach hundreds of billions…


The head of the unit is Gervase Poulden, a former environmental journalist and committed vegan…

Meanwhile, the NAO reported that there was an increasing recognition in Government that consumers would have to reduce their meat and dairy consumption.

Agriculture in the UK accounts for around 10 per cent of the annual emissions, and significant amounts of land will be needed for carbon sequestration including tree planting.

Ministers are also planning to outlaw deforestation in British supply chains, in the hopes of reducing the amount of imported meat that is detrimental to the environment.

As I noted the other day, the climate warriors have joined in the war on red meat. And, for that matter, not just red meat.

And indeed the Telegraph report includes a link to a story from last year:

Scientists from the University of Sydney, Australia, Oregon State University and Tufts University in the US and the University of Cape Town in South Africa are joined in the warning by 11,000 signatories from 153 countries including the UK.

In a paper published in the journal Bioscience, the researchers set out indicators showing the impacts of humans on the climate. The paper describes “profoundly troubling” signs from activities including sustained increases in human populations, the amount of meat consumed per person…

Dr Thomas Newsome, at the University of Sydney, said: “Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any great threat. “From the data we have, it is clear we are facing a climate emergency.”

Dr Newsome said that measuring global surface temperatures as a marker of climate change will remain important. But a “broader set of indicators should be monitored, including human population growth, meat consumption, tree-cover loss, energy consumption…

Much, much more of this to come. Here too as well.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph also reports this:

The 45 per cent cut in emissions already achieved since 1990 has come mostly from the phase-out of coal and its replacement with renewable energy such as offshore wind.

In a completely unrelated development, Bloomberg recently reported:

U.K. power prices rose to a four-year high after the U.K. grid operator warned that its safety buffer of supplies is almost eroded for Sunday night.

National Grid Plc said it’s “monitoring the situation closely” in a warning published on Twitter. The network operator stopped short of issuing an official alert called an Electricity Margin Notice, last triggered on Thursday, which is published when the normal safety margin for operating the system shrinks below the level permitted by the government.

I’d like to say there’s a certain irony that all this is happening under a Conservative government, but, after ten years of the Tories being in power, this blend of incompetence, stupidity, and authoritarianism is about par for the course. That the Conservatives are led by Boris Johnson, a sad wreck of a man seemingly broken by his awareness (he’s no fool) that he’s not up to the job, is the broken glass on the cake.


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