There are big changes afoot for agriculture and land use in the UK. Imperatives to halt climate breakdown and the decline of nature have led to a growing number of government targets requiring more action in the coming years. These targets cover a spectrum, including a legally binding aim for a net zero carbon economy and the mission to end nature decline by 2030, as well as commitments to protect 30 per cent of land for nature and reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent, also by 2030.Read more
Right now, the UK food system as a whole is bad for our health, bad for nature and the climate and, on top that, it is not even offering an economically sustainable livelihood for most farmers. The National Food Strategy, out today, sets out an integrated plan for how we can turn these problems around. Its insights on farming and land use are particularly exciting because they show how we can ‘have it all’: healthy food, as well as restored nature, carbon sinks and sustainable farm businesses.Read more
The outcry following the news that polluting businesses are involved in setting up a new carbon offset body, with the aim of building the voluntary market for carbon credits, shows the need for stronger public oversight of this practice.Read more
Have you stopped eating meat for some meals or started a plant-based diet? If so, you are part of a growing trend. Two weeks ago, a leaked draft of the forthcoming National Food Strategy included the suggestion that a meat tax might be needed in the future to help it along, to cut UK carbon emissions and improve people’s health. Meat taxes have been proposed before, and were rejected by the prime minister. But other developments are already driving changes in our diets. One way or another we will be eating less meat in future and a new vision for an economically and environmentally sustainable livestock sector is needed.Read more
This post was originally published by Business Green.
The rapid decline of nature in the UK isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s undermining our economic prosperity, as the Treasury’s recent Dasgupta Review on the economics of biodiversity and research by Cambridge University and the RSPB have shown. And turning around this crisis will only be achieved by concerted, co-ordinated action from both the public and private sectors.Read more
This post is by Jim Elliott, senior policy adviser and Tom Booker, policy assistant at Green Alliance
Lab grown meat and dairy, produced from a group of starter cells or from genetically modified microorganisms, rather than animals, is fast becoming a reality. Recent news revealed that a US company had won approval from Singapore’s food regulator to sell lab grown meat in the country. Meanwhile, a test restaurant has been set up in Israel, though it is waiting on the state regulator for approval to sell its lab grown chicken to the public. Media coverage has tended to focus on consumers, addressing questions like what lab grown meat tastes and feels like, whether people will want to eat it, or be able to afford it. But there are also big questions about what these technologies will mean for the food system, for farmers and for our environment. To find out more about this, we surveyed people working in NGOs, research organisations and farming groups to gauge their perceptions, and what opportunities and risks lab grown meat poses.Read more
Government spending on flood protection in England is fast approaching £1 billion a year. Yet homes and businesses, railways and roads, bridges and power infrastructure are increasingly being damaged or destroyed by devastating floods. Read more
As an environmentalist, I’m not a big fan of offsetting. Not only does it probably lead to increased pollution, absolving us of responsibility for our emissions, but carbon credits have also been notoriously poor at actually delivering the carbon reductions they claim. I’ve not set foot on a plane since 2011 as I struggle to justify flying, even with a carbon offset. Read more
This post also appears on the National Trust’s blog.
George Monbiot today wrote an excellent twitter thread criticising the ‘cold and alienating’ language we routinely use when talking about ‘the environment’. He specifically calls out a term we have been using at Green Alliance for several years: ‘Natural Infrastructure Schemes’. Monbiot argues that phrases like ‘our shared home’, ‘climate chaos’ and ‘wildlife’ should replace ‘the environment’, ‘climate change’ and ‘biodiversity’. Read more
As we hit the hottest winter temperatures ever in the UK, it‘s clear that the imperative to tackle climate change is becoming ever more urgent. We need to look at every aspect of how our economy is run to find new ways to cut carbon and attention is now turning to the role that land use and farming can play. Read more