Rishi Sunak will not tell people to reduce meat intake to help curb climate change

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The Chancellor chose a meat market as the backdrop of his post-Budget interviews  (PA Wire)
The Chancellor chose a meat market as the backdrop of his post-Budget interviews (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak has said that he will not encourage the British public to eat less meat in an effort to combat climate change.

The chancellor made the statement at a meat market, shortly after chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance called upon people to reduce their meat consumption to help tackle the climate crisis.

Sir Patrick said that “a little bit of a reduction in the amount of meat you eat” could significantly impact the fight against climate change.

He was one of almost 40 senior scientific advisers who issued a statement to world leaders ahead of the Cop26 summit calling on them to act now in order to curb temperature rises.

“The climate challenge is a series of small things from all of us that turn into a big change. And so those little things, that appear like they’re not very much, actually are important when they’re aggregated across many, many millions of people,” Sir Patrick said.

“A little bit of a reduction in the amount of meat you eat, deciding not to fly as often – those things individually of course are trivial but they are huge when you aggregate them. I’ve reduced my own meat consumption and will continue to do that.”

Mr Sunak, however, chose a meat market in Bury, Greater Manchester as the location for several high-profile post-Budget media interviews later that day.

When asked by Sky News why he was appearing at a meat market when the public was being encouraged to eat less meat, he said: “I’m not telling anyone to eat less meat. There are lots of different ways we can tackle climate change.”

This comes just days after the chancellor faced criticism for halving air passenger duty on domestic flights in the Budget, a decision which green campaigners say sends the wrong message about the impact of flying on the environment.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister called the move the “wrong choice” while Maggie Chapman, a Scottish MP in the Green Party, said it could “encourage climate-polluting, frequent flying within the UK”.

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