Monthly Archives: January 2023

February 2023

Travelling light

For individuals in the UK, transport can be the largest part of their carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly, walking or cycling are usually the most efficient ways to travel – cycling 1km can burn as little as 16g of CO2-equivalent, though it depends what you are fuelled by and can be up to 50g – greater than the footprint of a kilometre by train – if you’ve eaten beef. Taking the train is usually the most efficient option after that.

As the chart below helps illustrate, the new fashion for large cars runs counter to the nation’s commitment to reaching net zero, as large cars emit nearly twice the emissions of smaller ones (and discourage active travel by posing more risk to vulnerable users).

It’s worth noting that the carbon footprints in the chart below are per person. So, sharing lifts to fill your car reduces everyone’s footprint. The footprint for driving electric cars is falling as the proportion of renewables in the grid is increasing; and if you have solar panels on your roof can become next to nothing (though as with all cars there is a footprint to their manufacture).

Of course, reducing your mileage and frequency of journeys is the easiest way to cut the carbon footprint of your travel; conversely, the further you travel the more important it becomes to use a low carbon mode, as we’ll explore another time.

Do I count? Yes! Supply and demand! We have no time to lose to stay in a safe climate and new roads tend to be supplied at great environmental cost, and train and bus services reduced, in response to use or the lack of it. Here’s a good opportunity to ditch the car a bit: From 1 January 2023, over 130 bus operators across the country will introduce a £2 fare cap on single tickets. The cap will remain in place until 31 March 2023. The scheme is part of an initiative funded by the Government aimed at boosting bus use while helping passengers to save money as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, fuelled in part by high petrol and diesel prices. To read more about the Government scheme search for Help for Households Help with Transport Costs:

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Walk, scoot or cycle for journeys less than 3 miles if you can, or take the bus if you can’t.

January 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

For a diet that will sustain us, what’s at steak?

The NHS advises us to eat no more than 70g of red meat a day for health. For sustainability, the Committee on Climate Change recommends a 20% reduction in meat and dairy by 2030. The Planetary Health Diet (by leading scientists representing disciplines including agriculture and public health) has a daily average of 14g of red meat and 29g of poultry.

Why so little? Two reasons. Firstly, eating meat is inefficient because mammals use energy to keep warm and move: eg 6-10 kg of plant food is needed to produce 1kg of beef and a lot of that 1kg is bone, skin and guts. This means that if the world went vegan (which nobody is suggesting) we’d need less cropland than we currently use to feed humans and livestock! 

UK Land Area divided by purpose: Source: Carbon Brief

Secondly, livestock account for 14.5% of all global emissions. Cows, sheep and goats contribute massively to this total as (unlike pigs and poultry) they produce methane, a greenhouse gas 80x as potent as carbon dioxide.

Most people think that eating locally is much better for the climate than going vegetarian; in reality, the opposite is true, as the chart above shows.

The graphics show how by eating less meat there will be more room for natural solutions – growing trees, conservation restoration and land management actions that increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and allow room for the restoration of biodiversity. These solutions have the potential to deliver up to a third of the reduction in emissions we need by 2030, and help the UK be more self-sufficient in food.

We have years, not decades, to address the interconnected crises of climate change and biodiversity loss;

eating more plants is one significant step towards achieving this.