Meat intake targeted as UK speeds carbon emissions target

Achieving the goal may mean new targets to reduce meat and dairy consumption
Achieving the goal may mean new targets to reduce meat and dairy consumption

The government will speed up its target in cutting the UK's carbon emissions, including a new focus on reducing meat and dairy consumption.

New radical climate change commitments mean emissions will potentially fall 78 percent by 2035, the government announced this week.

This means the present UK target for slashing emissions will be brought forward by 15 years.

Achieving the targets would mean the roll out of electric cars, low-carbon heating and reducing intake of meat and dairy.

According to the Climate Change Committee, meat consumption will have to decline by up to a third.

The non-departmental public body recommended that meat intake should fall by 9 percent by 2025, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050.

And dairy consumption should decline by a fifth over the coming decade.

While farming groups have welcomed new measures to combat climate change, some have called for a need to push back against the anti-meat narrative.

The Sustainable Food Trust, a group advocating sustainable food systems, said stopping the consumption of all meat 'is not the answer'.

Instead, the charity said the public should be buying local British meat produced sustainably and to high-standards.

CEO Patrick Holden said: "Grass fed livestock, rotated with crops, are part of the solution to climate change, building soil heath and helping sequester carbon.

"It makes sense then, that sustainable meat-eating should be a key part of emissions reduction planning."

He said the public should be using their buying powers to support those farmers who were 'doing the right thing for the environment'.

"That means buying locally where possible, and opting for high-welfare, mainly grass fed meat," Mr Holden added.

It comes ahead of Boris Johnson's address to the opening session of the US Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden on Earth Day on Thursday (22 April).

The prime minister will urge countries to raise ambition on tackling climate change and join the UK in setting stretching targets for reducing emissions by 2030.