Advertisement
Environment

Going vegan will help UK reach climate targets, says minister

Bold steps will be needed to help the UK reach its commitment, which the prime minister described as the most ambitious in the world

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, has said that more people adopting lifestyle changes such as going vegan will help drive progress towards the UK’s climate goals

Earlier this week, the Government announced it would set tougher climate targets and attempt to slash carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 when compared to 1990 levels. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this was the most ambitious commitment in the world. 

Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

Talking today (April 22) on Times Radio, Kwarteng was asked about a column in The Times newspaper by former foreign secretary William Hague.

Hague wrote the UK faced a decade of “dramatic and sometimes depressing politics” where people could be told to eat less meat and pay more taxes to save the planet. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

“I wonder, if we are to tackle climate change, do we need to be a bit more honest about the changes that are coming?” asked breakfast show host Aasmah Mir. 

“This isn’t just about boilers and electric cars, it’s possibly about tax rises too, which you may be planning”. 

Article continues below

Side-stepping the issue of taxes, Kwarteng replied: “I actually see a massive economic opportunity from decarbonisation.” 

He then added: “There are challenges in terms of people changing their lifestyle, but that’s happening already without government legislation. 

“The number of people who are vegans, who are reducing their meat intake, is going up all the time.

“I think there’s a lot of societal change that will actually help us and drive the progress to 2035 when hopefully we will hit the 78 per cent reduction targets.” 

This week, new research from the WWF found there was a 25 per cent increase in people adopting plant-based diets between February 2019 and October 2020.

But Dr Chris West, one of the researchers based at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, said both individuals and governments would need to take action to bring down carbon emissions. 

“Meeting our climate targets will require a combination of small and big changes, such as maintaining a reduction in international travel, which is needed to bring down personal footprints,” said West. 

“Changing consumer behaviours are a very important component of moving towards a low-carbon future, but these must also be complemented by a rapid transition towards renewable energy and a circular economy.” 

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Top footballers urged to become climate champions and help make the sport more sustainable
Sustainability in sport

Top footballers urged to become climate champions and help make the sport more sustainable

Going green: how Big Issue’s new EV vans will help vendors and the planet
SPONSORED CONTENT

Going green: how Big Issue’s new EV vans will help vendors and the planet

Driving change for good – for Big Issue vendors, staff and the planet
sponsored content

Driving change for good – for Big Issue vendors, staff and the planet

People protested when this capital city went car-free. Now they love it
Sustainable transport

People protested when this capital city went car-free. Now they love it

Most Popular

Read All
Oil giants Shell and BP have been handed £700m of taxpayer cash despite bumper profits
1.

Oil giants Shell and BP have been handed £700m of taxpayer cash despite bumper profits

What are the risks of Don't Pay UK? We asked a leading lawyer
2.

What are the risks of Don't Pay UK? We asked a leading lawyer

How broken is the UK's public transport? I spent all day on buses to find out
3.

How broken is the UK's public transport? I spent all day on buses to find out

Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes
4.

Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes

Keep up to date with the Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.