UK must cut meat and dairy consumption by half to meet 2050 net zero emissions target, says report

Flying will also have to be curbed, according to the research

Meat and dairy consumption may need to be reduced by 50% if the UK is to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050, according to a new report.

Produced by the government-funded not-for-profit group Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), the research stated that the 2050 goal would be possible if innovation is stepped up in three key fields.

In lifestyle, cuts to meat and dairy consumption by 20% will be necessary, but may need to rise to as high as 50% depending on the success of carbon neutrality initiatives.

Doing so, it forecast, would save about eight million tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The report – which looked at 100 different pathways the UK could follow in order to meet the climate change goal – also detailed the necessity for reduced reliance on aviation.   

Current predictions suggest flying frequency will increase by 60% compared to 2005 levels. However, it will need to rise by just 20% to ensure the UK remains on track with the net zero goal.

Net zero refers to the offsetting of all carbon dioxide emissions, either through carbon removal initiatives or cutting emissions altogether, which the UK aims to achieve by 2050.

The other two areas in which the report suggested significant changes will be necessary is in low carbon technologies – centring on hydrogen, electricity generation such as through wind and solar power, and carbon capture and storage through bioenergy – and land use, for instance, through the planting of forests a third the size of Greater London annually.READ MOREHow more trees in London could keep our city cool

While the report detailed initial enthusiasm from the public for the adoption of new technologies, when it came to eagerness to make lifestyle changes – including dietary – it noted “a more resistant and emotional response”.

Scott Milne, ESC insight and evidence lead, said of the report: “Now for the first time, we’ve modelled hundreds of potential pathways to get to Net Zero by 2050, ramping up or down different technologies and behaviour changes – to understand the different combinations, interactions and trade-offs of competing decarbonisation options to reach the most cost-optimised approaches. In lifestyle, cuts to meat and dairy consumption by 20% will be necessary, but may need to rise to as high as 50% depending on the success of carbon neutrality initiatives.

Doing so, it forecast, would save about eight million tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The report – which looked at 100 different pathways the UK could follow in order to meet the climate change goal – also detailed the necessity for reduced reliance on avaition.

Net zero refers to the offsetting of all carbon dioxide emissions, either through carbon removal initiatives or cutting emissions altogether, which the UK aims to achieve by 2050. Scott Milne, ESC insight and evidence lead, said of the report: “Now for the first time, we’ve modelled hundreds of potential pathways to get to Net Zero by 2050, ramping up or down different technologies and behaviour changes – to understand the different combinations, interactions and trade-offs of competing decarbonisation options to reach the most cost-optimised approaches.

“Broadly each potential pathway uses a combination of two different approaches: a top-down technology focused approach or a bottom-up behaviour focused approach.”

He added: “However, what stands out is – no matter which pathway the UK takes – innovation, investment and incentives across low carbon technology, land use and lifestyle is essential to achieve Net Zero.”

The 2050 net zero emissions target was an amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008, announced in the final days of Theresa May’s premiership last year

Filed Under: Research

About the Author

Passion and love for my work has helped me to explore and travel to many places all over the planet. There is an amazing amount of food variety, quality and flavor combinations out there. Here, we would like to present you with some ideas; some maybe new, some old, some healthy, some sweet, some spicy, but mostly; just simply delicious and for you to enjoy! Best Wishes and Great Dishes

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