Thursday, November 30, 2023

Eat Less Meat Is Message for Rich World in Food’s First Net Zero Plan

UN’s FAO is set to publish plan for food’s climate transition

Food expected to take more focus at COP28 summit in Dubai

The world’s most-developed nations will be told to curb their excessive appetite for meat as part of the first comprehensive plan to bring the global agrifood industry into line with the Paris climate agreement.

The global food systems’ road map to 1.5C is expected to be published by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization during the COP28 summit next month. Nations that over-consume meat will be advised to limit their intake, while developing countries — where under-consumption of meat adds to a prevalent nutrition challenge — will need to improve their livestock farming, according to the FAO.

From farm to fork, food systems account for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and much of that footprint is linked to livestock farming — a major source of methane, deforestation and biodiversity loss. Although non-binding, the FAO’s plan is expected to inform policy and investment decisions and give a push to the food industry’s climate transition which has lagged other sectors in commitments.

The guidance on meat is intended to send a clear message to governments. But politicians in richer nations typically shy away from policies aimed at influencing consumer behavior, especially where it involves cutting consumption of everyday items.

“Livestock is politically sensitive, but we need to deal with sensitive issues to solve the problem,” said Dhanush Dinesh, the founder of Clim-Eat, which works to accelerate climate action in food systems. “If we don’t tackle the livestock problem, we are not going to solve climate change. The key problem is overconsumption.”

North America Has Biggest Appetite for Meat

The average American consumes about 127 kilograms of meat a year compared with 7 kilograms in Nigeria and just 3 kilograms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the FAO data. The Eat-Lancet Commission recommends people consume no more than 15.7 kilograms of meat a year.

The Rome-based UN agency, tasked with improving the agricultural sector and nutrition, is seeking to strike a balance between the climate transition and ensuring food security for the growing global population. So as well as calling for less meat consumption for the world’s well fed, the plan would also encourage farmers in developing countries to bolster productivity of their livestock and supply more sustainably.


UK: The Tories have capitulated to green extremists

The Green Blob’s iron grip is squeezing the life out of our economy

We have long been told that the costs would be taken into account along with the benefits. We have been reassured that the burden would be eased on households and small businesses. And, more recently, we were led to believe that some of the more draconian measures would be scrapped.

Following Rishi Sunak’s reset of some net zero plans earlier this year, there was optimism that the Government was no longer capitulating to the more extreme wing of the green movement.

Yet, in the last week alone, we have heard reports of bans on gas hobs, a change to the rules to encourage uptake of heat pumps that no one wants, closures of refining plants and demands for even more taxpayer cash for electric vehicles.

In reality, the iron grip of the Green Blob is as tight as ever – and until the Conservatives find a way of breaking free, it will squeeze the life out of the economy.

By now, the UK was meant to have switched from the camp of the net zeros to that of the net sensibles. The Prime Minister had, quite rightly, recognised that turning a nation which accounts for only 1pc of global carbon emissions into a global leader on fighting climate change was becoming increasingly unaffordable.

The costs for hard-pressed households and small businesses, in particular, were simply too high.

He pushed back the deadline for banning the sale of petrol-driven cars from 2030 to 2035 (bringing it in line with the EU), relaxed the target for phasing out gas boilers, and scrapped plans to start fining landlords if they didn’t pay for expensive energy-saving upgrades.

Instead of leading a green crusade, the UK would sensibly assess the costs and benefits of each plan, wait to see what worked in the rest of the world, and then decide what would be cost effective in this country.

Yet in the last week alone, we have witnessed another whole series of crazy green targets.

In Oxford, the local council has unveiled plans to ban gas cookers and boilers in new homes from 2025, a decision that will drive up the cost of building in a part of the country where extra housing is desperately needed (and where life sciences and tech companies could be thriving if only people had somewhere to live).

If that goes ahead, we can be confident that virtue-signalling councillors will mimic the policy right around the country.

On heat pumps, rules have been relaxed so that people can place the cumbersome beasts closer to boundary walls regardless of how much noise it might cause to neighbours.

Instead of waiting for a better carbon-neutral technology to arrive, and there are plenty in development, the Government is insisting that we press on with a vastly expensive switch to heating systems that hardly work and no one wants.

In an Autumn Statement that was meant to be pro-business and pro-investment, the Chancellor still felt compelled to dish out another £2bn in subsidies to the auto industry for the switchover to electric vehicles.

That is despite falling sales to private buyers, as it becomes increasingly clear they may well be the wrong way of switching to carbon neutral transport.

Huge new subsidies have been offered earlier this month to the wind industry to keep it afloat, even though we have been lectured for years that it is the cheapest form of energy there is. It is hard to see how any of that fits into a strategy of switching to a more moderate policy on net zero.

In reality, the green fanatics are just as influential as they have ever been. The Government has managed to chip away at it very slightly. But it is having only a marginal impact.

The problem is profound and far-reaching. A range of bodies, where greenery is institutional, have taken control of the climate change agenda and keep ramping up every existing target.

The devolved administrations appear more interested in appeasing their green allies and supporters than protecting jobs and the local economy. And civil servants simply shrug off the change of government policy as irrelevant, while the legal system has been used by climate activists to impose mandated targets.

No one – well, almost no one – disagrees that climate change is important nor that we need to reduce carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean that it can be achieved without taking full account of all the costs.

It doesn’t mean that the Government, despite its dire track record, should choose which technologies are best to achieve that. And it doesn’t mean that it should be done by picking arbitrary targets out of thin air at a climate change conference and sticking to them even when it is glaringly obvious that they are no longer realistic.

Under Sunak’s brief reset, the UK had an opportunity to embrace a more sensible approach, as indeed President Macron is doing in France, with plans to ramp up nuclear power, and even the Social Democrat-Green coalition in Germany, with old coal mines reopened as a backup for intermittent wind power.

We could have settled on a steady reduction in carbon emissions, but combined it with energy security, and made sure that costs were kept under control for households, and that industry had the power it needed to remain competitive on the global market.

Instead, the Green Blob has doubled down on a headlong rush towards net zero regardless of the expense.

Until that changes, the economy will keep on getting crushed by extreme environmentalism – and whatever ministers promise there is very little sign of that changing any time soon.


Siemens Energy plans to withdraw from wind power

As a consequence of the escalated ongoing disaster, Siemens Energy is considering a partial withdrawal from its onshore wind turbine business.

Christian Bruch illustrates the dimensions of the crisis. “We have the largest order backlog in the energy technology industry, and the success of the energy transition will require Siemens Energy,” emphasised the head of the DAX group during a memorable balance sheet presentation in Munich.

Until the evening before, the federal government and banks, Siemens Energy and parent Siemens had been negotiating to secure state guarantees that were vital for survival. Final details are still open, Bruch's answers showed. What is clear, however, is that the crisis-ridden company has reinsured 7.5 billion euros of the twelve billion euros that banks guarantee for major Siemens Energy projects and Siemens is liable for another billion euros. But everything is still far from good.

Siemens Energy does not want to supply the entire world with wind turbines in the future

As a consequence of the escalated ongoing disaster, Bruch is considering a partial withdrawal from the onshore wind turbine business where existing problems are concentrated. “When an area loses so much money, you have to question the strategy,” the manager realised after a three-year decline. In the past 2022/23 financial year alone (as of September 30th), the net loss was 4.6 billion euros on sales of 31 billion euros, after previous years had already seen lower red figures.


Australia: Former Letist cabinet minister lashes government over green litigant funding

Former Labor cabinet minister Joel Fitzgibbon has lashed the Albanese government over its decision to hand millions of dollars to help green litigants, accusing Labor of “financing job destroying legal challenges”.

In a speech to forestry industry leaders, the former Hunter MP said Labor had “handed taxpayers’ money to activists”.

The attacks come after Labor fulfilled its election promise to reverse funding cuts to the Environmental Defenders Office, providing $10m in funding to the community legal centre over the forward estimates.

The EDO is an legal organisation well known for its environmental advocacy, running high-profile cases against coal and gas developments.

Mr Fitzgibbon, the chair of the Australian Forest Products Association, said it made no sense for the government to fund activists to take legal action “against the very government that gave them the money”.

“Activists funded by rich donors - and indeed governments through the Environmental Defenders Office - are challenging value-creating projects in the law courts,” Mr Fitzgibbon said, in a speech delivered earlier this month that has been obtained by The Australian.

“In a wealthy, liberal democracy it makes sense to use taxpayers money to ensure all Australians have legal representation when they face a criminal conviction. But it makes no sense to hand taxpayers’ money to activists so they can take legal action against the very government that gave them the money.

“To challenge in the courts approvals processes the government rightly argues are as robust as any in the world.”

Labor pledged to reinstate funding for the EDO ahead of the last election in order to enable Australians to have access to the law.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek told The Australian Labor was “proud to be restoring funding to the Environmental Defenders Office, reversing cuts made by the Abbott government.”

“Every section of our community deserves legal advocacy. As does our previous environment. Unlike the Liberals and Nationals, we are not afraid of scrutiny and accountability,” Ms Plibersek said.

Government officials pointed out that the EDO was also funded under the Rudd and Gillard governments of which Mr Fitzgibbon was a Cabinet minister.

The Abbott government cut funding to the organisation following allegations of activist lawfare.

The EDO, first established in NSW in 1985, has used the courts to delay or squash major projects including the Adani coalmine in central Queensland, Santos’ Barossa gas proposad and forestry developments in Tasmania.

The body has received grants from groups including the Myer Foundation.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Fitzgibbon also attacked “extreme environmental activists” who he said “would destroy our sovereign capability in this country and destroy the jobs of the people who provide it”.

“AFPA provides me with an opportunity to do another thing I did for many years in politics – to take on the extreme environmental activists who, given the chance, would destroy our sovereign capability in this country and destroy the jobs of the people who provide it,” he said.

The EDO was contacted for comment.




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