A government research paper recommending people “shift dietary habits” towards plant-based foods has been hastily deleted.
The paper focuses on changing public behaviour to hit climate targets and also suggests promoting domestic tourism and portraying business travel as an “immoral indulgence”.
…In a chapter in the deleted document titled “Applications to Net Zero Policy”, under the subheading “Diet Changes”, researchers recommend following the example of the sugar levy with a tax on producers or retailers of “high-carbon foods” to incentivise “reformulation and diversification” towards more plant-based and local food types.
A blueprint to change public behaviour to cut carbon emissions, which includes levies on high-carbon food and a reduction in frequent flying, was published alongside the government’s net zero strategy on Tuesday, before being withdrawn within a few hours.
“For instance, even with public criticism being high, many still perceived government approval as the yardstick for safe behaviour during COVID-19 ‘we’re allowed to do this now [so must be safe]…’. This reveals, for many, a deep set reverence for legitimate government authority, regardless of one’s personal political views.”Net Zero: principles for successful behaviour change initiatives, p.24
This research looks at UK and OECD government-led behaviour change initiatives over the last 70 years. It identifies 9 principles that can be applied to encourage the behaviour change needed to achieve Net Zero.
The research was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). It was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
This document has been removed from the gov.uk website. Archives can be found here:
The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a special report last week, setting out its proposals for achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions. One of its headline demands is that gas-fired domestic boilers should no longer be sold after 2025. This echoes one of the main policies in the UK government’s Net Zero plan. This is no coincidence. National governments, including the UK, draw all of their climate policies from faceless global agencies like the IEA (as well as domestic quangos like the Climate Change Committee). This process leaves out one important constituency: the public.