Eat less meat and don’t fly as much, says Sir Patrick Vallance

Chief scientific adviser to the government, Patrick Vallance, makes a speech on the RSS Sir David Attenborough, in London (Credits: AP)
Chief scientific adviser to the government, Patrick Vallance, makes a speech on the RSS Sir David Attenborough, in London (Credits: AP)

Tackling the climate crisis will require behavioural changes such as eating less meat and flying less, as well as green technology, the UK’s chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir Patrick Vallance made the comments as he joined senior scientific advisers from around the world to issue a statement ahead of the Cop26 climate talks, calling on leaders to take urgent action to limit warming to 1.5C – beyond which more severe impacts of global warming will be felt.

The statement, signed by nearly 40 chief scientists and equivalents said it was still possible to curb temperature rises to 1.5C, but only with steep reductions in global emissions by 2030 and reducing them to zero overall by 2050.

They said stabilising the climate would limit sea level rises and extreme weather events, improve prosperity and protect human health and nature.

The advisers said addressing climate change would require intense international collaboration on research and innovation to develop and deliver new solutions across all sectors of the global economy.

Action to adapt to the consequences of climate change that are already inevitable ‘is critical’, they warned.

The statement, released as leaders and negotiators head to Glasgow for the latest round of UN talks to tackle the climate crisis, said limiting warming ‘will require rapid, urgent and sustained action and significant behavioural, socioeconomic and technological transformations across the world’.

‘This must begin with rapid scale-up and deployment of a wide range of existing and novel technological solutions.’

Governments should focus on piloting and scaling up existing green technologies over the next decade, accelerate development of next-generation solutions, and involve every part of society in the green transition, which must be affordable, accessible and fair, they said.

Sir Patrick said the message to world leaders is that ‘1.5C is achievable, it’s absolutely what we should be aiming for’ but it requires action now.

Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of the United Kingdom, Patrick Vallance, makes a speech on the RSS Sir David Attenborough, in London, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Britain's new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough will make a special visit to London Greenwich from 28-30 October. The UK's new polar research ship is making its London debut in Greenwich in support of the UK Presidency of COP26 ahead of her first mission to Antartica. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Sir Patrick joins other scientists in offering recommendations for helping fight climate change (AP)

He said this decade is the decade of research and development of innovation as it has to be scaled and applied now or the world will not be able to reach the 1.5C target.

‘It’s going to require detailed plans, it’s going to require technology, it’s going to require behavioural change and it’s going to require monitoring in order to achieve this, including monitoring of emissions.’

On behavioural changes, Sir Patrick said reductions in meat eating and flying would need to happen, adding: ‘There will be a move away from the extent of meat eating we’ve seen in the past, and I think we will all need to think about our flying habits.

‘But of course, coupled to that, there’s also technological advances, so as options for green transport become real that will change again.

‘One of the climate challenge is it’s a series of small things from all of us that turn into a big change.

‘Those little things that appear like they’re not very much are important when they are aggregated across many many millions of people.’

This incredible photo shows a plane flying right in front of a full moon, leaving contrails across the natural satellite's surface, above Anderby Creek on the Lincolnshire coast. See SWNS story SWOCplane. Amateur photographer Chris Love, 43, was amazed when he managed to capture the photo of a plane flying in front of the full moon when he was on holiday in Lincolnshire. The aircraft can be seen soaring in front of the moon, leaving contrails over the bottom of the natural satellite's surface in the early morning of last Sunday [24]. Account manager Chris, who lives in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire, said:
‘We will all need to think about our flying habits’ (Credits: Chris Love / SWNS)

He said most of the technologies needed to shift to a greener world are already ‘visible’, and warned against relying on a ‘magic new technology’ coming along in future years that would solve the problem.

He added that the ‘green choice needs to be the easy choice’ for people, including on price, convenience and with a clear understanding of what they can do on an individual level to make a difference.

MORE : Jack Black turns into talking dinosaur in new climate change video

MORE : Your handy climate pub chat guide to: Renewable energy

Metro.co.uk's #Just1Change campaign

In the run up to COP26 and beyond, we will be sharing stories, ideas, and advice about one common theme: The climate crisis.

At a time when the weight of environmental issues feels very heavy and overwhelming, our aim is to deliver content that will not only inform and educate but also offer hope and inspiration.

Here are some of our #Just1Change highlights so far:

Tags
Tech Climate change Cop26 Environment Just1change Science