FEATURES HOW TO THE SAVE THE PLANET
Adjusting the way we use land for climate—with less farming of animals, and more forestry—will feed back into discussions about meat consumption. Public Health England’s dietary guidelines suggest we should dramatically reduce our consumption of beef, lamb and dairy products. The government has been cautious about suggesting people cut their meat intake— and those of us who infamously eat bacon sandwiches aren’t the best people to give dietary advice. But this is an issue we need to confront. The argument is not about sacrifice, it is about people’s wellbeing. We are not asking people to change their food consumption for the sake of future generations but also for themselves—so they will get to meet future generations. That is a less daunting political ask.
HFOOTING THE BILL—FAIRLY
ow we pay for this transition is fundamental. We can’t wish away the economic pressures on people, but must instead make them central to climate challenge. A Green New Deal can build a coalition across classes, and avoid the sort of problems President Macron ran into when he tried to impose a fuel tax without a commitment to fairness.
There are varied ideas about how to finance the transformation we need—among them higher taxes on the better off, pollution levies and even ear-marking some of the funds created by Quantitative Easing. We will look at them all. But already one thing is plain: we can’t pay for this in the old way, by loading it onto energy bills that weigh most heavily on the poor. Likewise, we need to find a way to make airline taxes more progressive so that they hit wealthy frequent fliers harder than those going on hard-earned once-ayear foreign holidays.
“CLIMATE CHANGE WAS WRITTEN OUT OF THE 2015 ELECTION SCRIPT. THERE WAS NOT ONE QUESTION ABOUT IT IN THE THREE TV LEADERS’ DEBATES”
The question of paying for it fairly is critical—but fraught. Citizens’ assemblies, which have been a huge success on very different but equally controversial questions in Ireland, could be invaluable in making sure ordinary voices are heard and taken seriously.
Climate protests in Trafalgar Square