October 17, 2019 report
Research group suggests major changes for UK to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050
A group of researchers at Imperial College, selected by Britain's Committee on Climate Change (CCC), has submitted its report, according to the BBC. The group was tasked with looking into what the U.K. must do to reach its goal of cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. In accepting the report and giving the BBC a look at it, members of the CCC noted the report did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the committee.
The researchers focused on the three main contributors to carbon emissions by households in the U.K.: the food sector, home heating, and transportation. They have proposed serious changes to each that are required if the U.K. is to meet its stated goal.
More specifically, the researchers found that people in the U.K. are going to have to stop eating meat and instead eat plant-based food. They note that the food sector is responsible for approximately 30 percent of the average household's carbon emissions. They suggest providing people with more information about how much carbon release is involved in meat production. They also suggest that prices for meat should be raised while prices for other Earth-friendly foods be reduced, and adjust farm subsidies likewise.
To reduce the average household's carbon emissions due to heating (21 percent of household emissions), the researchers suggest offering consumers low cost air-source heat pumps. They also note that the government needs to remove taxes on such items as insulation and new carbon-neutral heating systems.
The researchers note that transportation remains the largest portion of the household emission footprint (34 percent) and that a major shift is required. Consumers will need to shift from driving carbon-fuel powered vehicles to electric vehicles or begin using public transportation. They note that the government could make the transition easier by subsidizing electric vehicles and public transportation.
The researchers note that overall, the U.K. government needs to stop subsidizing businesses involved in the production and distribution of fossil fuels and to cut taxes on businesses working on providing low-carbon technology. They also note that the government should consider forcing airlines that operate in the U.K. to raise prices for frequent fliers and to provide all passengers with information about the impact that aircraft have on the environment.
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