What is the National Food Strategy and how could it change the way England eats?

Kelly Parsons, University of Hertfordshire and David Barling, University of Hertfordshire

Reforming England’s food system could save the country £126 billion, according to a recent government-commissioned report. The National Food Strategy, led by British businessman Henry Dimbleby, proposes a raft of measures to shake up how food is produced and the kinds of diets most people eat.

The need for action is laid out in stark terms. Poor diets contribute to around 64,000 deaths every year in England, and the government spends £18 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. How we grow food accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of biodiversity destruction.

To meet these challenges, the report calls for “escaping the junk food cycle” to improve general health and reduce the strain on the NHS, reducing the gap in good diets between high- and low-income areas, using space more efficiently to grow food so that more land can return to nature, and creating a long-term shift in food culture.

The strategy is, in parts, highly ambitious, particularly in its framing of the challenge as a systemic issue, and in some of the more innovative measures it proposes.

These include the world’s first sugar and salt reformulation tax, aimed at forcing manufacturers to make the foods they sell healthier – by reformulating recipes to remove sugar and salt – and raising around £3 billion for the Treasury in the process. Companies would also have to report how healthy and sustainable their food sales are. Cannily, the strategy team persuaded some companies to come out in favour of the proposals, which suggests they’re serious about seeing their ideas implemented and attuned to the government’s nervousness around upsetting the food industry.

junk food, sweets and unhealthy eating

The Eatwell Guide, which shows what proportion of our diet should come from each food group, would be based not only on the healthiness of certain foods, but their environmental sustainability too. This reference diet would underpin government decisions, and help ensure food policies are consistent with what is good for people and the planet.

The strategy takes a commendably bold stance on the government’s approach to trade policy, making clear that not honouring a manifesto commitment to protect food standards could bankrupt Britain’s farming sector.

Missed opportunities

At the same time, the strategy is politically pragmatic, clearly crafted with an eye on what what is likely to be winnable within the current government. As such, some politically-contentious issues are sidestepped.

The strategy sets a goal of reducing meat consumption by 30% over ten years, but shies away from interventions to tackle this head on, with a meat tax discounted as “politically impossible”.

The report notably fails to address the poorly paid, precarious and often dangerous jobs of food workers, in agriculture and hospitality. The report details how the problems with food are systemic, but misses the chance to make the link between poor working conditions in the sector and food insecurity and health. The terrible irony of “critical workers” like farmers, fishers and catering staff that feed many of us is that they’re unable to afford to eat well themselves.

The scale of the challenge has led to calls for a new minister for hunger, a cabinet sub-committee on food, or an independent food body. The strategy opts instead for a Good Food Bill with statutory targets around diet-related health and reporting. It also favours expanding the remit of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to encompass health and sustainability and calls for improved monitoring and measurement of the food system and the policies linked to it.

If enacted, these proposals could benefit food policymaking, but they’d leave the difficult question of how different government departments can coordinate on the issue untouched. Expanding an existing body may be politically expedient, but does the non-ministerial FSA have the clout and capacity to drive reform in the many other departments with a hand in food policy?

An ambitious and innovate strategy in parts, and wise for its political astuteness. Whether it has achieved the right balance will become clearer in the next phase, when the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs delivers its response. The recommendations will need to survive the political jungle and overcome obstacles both bureaucratic and ideological.

Should they make it through in one piece, these policies could tackle some of the biggest challenges related to food. But more importantly, the strategy could disrupt the politics and ideas about what people should want from their food system, and give licence to additional policy interventions in trade, meat and jobs.

Kelly Parsons, Food Systems Policy & Governance Research Fellow, University of Hertfordshire and David Barling, Professor of Food Policy and Security, Director of the Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management, University of Hertfordshire

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Like this:

Like Loading…


via Watts Up With That?


July 25, 2021 at 04:43AM

Boris Johnson’s Net Zero goal in disarray as Rishi Sunak baulks at the £1.4trillion cost

Proposals to reduce CO2 emissions to ‘net zero’ as part of Boris Johnson’s plan to make the UK a ‘world leader’ in green policies have been thrown into disarray after Rishi Sunak raised objections to the eye-watering cost to the Treasury.

As part of the net zero plan –which would decarbonise the economy by 2050 – No 10 had been expected to publish in the spring details of the strategy for moving away from gas boilers ahead of Glasgow’s COP26 climate change conference in November.

But this has been delayed until the autumn amid mounting alarm about the bill.

The Chancellor – who is already looking for ways to pay back the £400 billion cost of the Covid crisis and the £10 billion a year required to reform long-term care for the elderly – is understood to have baulked at estimates of hitting net zero at more than £1.4 trillion.

The independent Office For Budget Responsibility (OBR) calculated the cost of making buildings net zero at £400 billion, while the bill for vehicles would be £330 billion, plus £500 billion to clean up power generation and a further £46 billion for industry.

After energy savings across the economy, this would leave a £400 billion bill for the Treasury.

The OBR also warned that the Government would need to impose carbon taxes to make up for the loss of fuel duty and other taxes.

The Prime Minister is considering issuing millions of households with ‘green cheques’ worth hundreds of pounds to compensate them for the cost of becoming more energy efficient.

It is the latest claim of tensions between No 10 and No 11 over the strains on the public purse.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed Mr Sunak had warned that reforms to social care would not be affordable without the introduction of a new dedicated tax, equivalent to an extra 1 per cent on National Insurance.

After a backlash, No 10 shelved the plans until the autumn.

There are also ongoing discussions about how to reduce the predicted £4 billion cost of the ‘triple lock’ protecting the value of the state pension, amid fears that a surge in average earnings figures will push it unaffordably high.

Both the increase on National Insurance and extra green costs are controversial within Government because the burden of both fall more heavily on younger people and lower income households.

The summit is expected to bring together more than 100 world leaders to make commitments on how they intend to reach global net zero and limit global warming to 1.5C.

Yesterday, Allegra Stratton, Mr Johnson’s COP26 spokeswoman, promised that the details will be published before November’s meeting. She said the Prime Minister believed that ‘if we are going to transition to net zero it needs to be in a way the British public understand and are comfortable with’.

A Treasury spokesman said that No 10 and No 11 were ‘on the same page’ on both the triple lock and the need for an effective, affordable net zero strategy. 

Full post

The post Boris Johnson’s Net Zero goal in disarray as Rishi Sunak baulks at the £1.4trillion cost appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum.

via The Global Warming Policy Forum


July 25, 2021 at 04:41AM

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District favors higher energy costs

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted overwhelmingly on July 21, 2021, to require refineries including the Chevron and PBF facilities in the East Bay to reduce the amount of air pollution they emit by installing expensive particulate scrubbers.

Bay Area refineries are among the cleanest, most environmentally friendly in the world and some of the most responsible employers.  The BAAQMD Rule 6-5 would further reduce particulate emissions to clean up the cleanest refineries in the world.  This will shift the fuel supply for West Coast fuel demand for the military, the international airports at San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, as well as the cruise ships, Coast Guard, and merchant ships serving West Coast ports.  Fuel dependency will shift over to China as the West Coast’s primary supplier.

The proposed version of BAAQMD Rule 6-5 will barely reduce particulate emission reductions while raising the nation’s highest energy prices even higher, showing racial bias by impacting lower income African American and Hispanic residents the most.

The BAAQMD has failed to understand that the most important fact about today’s environmental movement, and what the new book “

Clean Energy Exploitations

” explores is that the healthy and wealthy countries of the United States of America, Germany, the UK, and Australia representing 6 percent of the world’s population (505 million vs 7.8 billion) could literally shut down, and cease to exist, and the opposite of what you have been told and believe will take place.

Simply put, in these healthy and wealthy countries, every person, animal, or anything that causes emissions to harmfully rise could vanish off the face of the earth; or even die off, and global emissions will still explode in the coming years and decades ahead over the population and economic growth of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Africa.

China (1.4 Billion), India (1.36 billion), Indonesia (270 million), Japan (126 million) and Vietnam (80 million) plan to build

more than 600 coal power units

, and African countries (1.2 Billion) are planning to build 

more than 1,250

 new coal and gas-fired power plants by 2030.

The book “Clean Energy Exploitations” helps citizens attain a better understanding that just for the opportunity to generate intermittent electricity that is dependent on favorable breezes and sunshine, the wealthier and healthier countries like Germany, Australia, Britain, and America continue to exploit the most vulnerable people and environments of the world today.

The healthier and wealthier countries fail to recognize that at least

80 percent of humanity

, or more than 6 billion in this world are

living on less than $10 a day

, and b illions living with 

little to no access to electricity

,  These poor folks need abundant, affordable, reliable, scalable, and flexible electricity while The healthier and wealthier are pursuing the most expensive ways to generate intermittent electricity from breezes and sunshine.

The air district has calculated that exposure to particulate matter from the Chevron refinery in Richmond increases mortality in the region by up to 10 deaths per year, while the PBF Energy refinery in Martinez adds up to six deaths per year. The microscopic interpretation of fatality data to support their decision will most likely lead to lawsuits and another refinery closing, decreasing fuel supplies, and increasing prices for all Californians.

The BAAQMD may not be cognizant that oil and gas are an international industry with more than

700 refineries worldwide

that service the demands of the 8 billion living on earth.

The BAAQMD has shown empathy toward those potential 16 fatalities from local particulate matter, but has shown no concern toward currently, underdeveloped countries, mostly from energy starved countries with yellow, brown, and black colored skin residents, that are experiencing a bout

11,000,000 child deaths every year

of which more than 70 per cent are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. About 29,000  children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day,

mainly from preventable causes


When you include fatalities of “other than children”, the world numbers get even worse…

The BAAQMD feels good that they may be saving the health of 16 in Richmond and Martinez, at the expense of other Californians, while still maintaining their “blinders” toward millions of other fatalities, as California continues to “leak” emissions and air quality responsibilities to developing countries halfway around the world. The same countries that have virtually non-existent environmental regulations nor labor controls to protect the local workers in those developing countries. I hope the members of the BAAQMD can sleep peacefully!



July 25, 2021 at 04:10AM

Net Zero leccie: When the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine

The real ‘challenge’ is not what you do when wind and solar energy can give you 100 per cent, but when they choose to give you zero or all-but zero

Britain has something like 11,000 so-called wind turbines. They are mostly scattered all over the green hills of England, Scotland and Wales, but 2300 of the bird-killers are located offshore all around the coast.

They have what is quaintly and fraudulently described as a total “installed generation capacity” of just shy of 25,000 megawatts – you know those typical fraudulent claims: “enough to power so many thousands of homes”.

If they could deliver their so-called installed capacity – as coal-fired and nuclear power stations have mostly been doing, for 100 years and 60 years respectively – they would be able to supply 100 per cent of Britain’s demand for electricity through the night and much of daytime demand.

Overnight Britain’s grid demand drops to around 22,000MW; come the day it kicks up to 30,000MW, generally peaking around 35,000MW, although winter demand approaches 40,000MW.

But of course generation from these turbines never gets anywhere near “capacity”; when the wind is blowing and blowing strong, and pretty much everywhere, generation from these wind turbines can get to around 13,000MW, often supplying more than half Britain’s grid electricity.

That’s when the wind is blowing; and when it’s not? What might you think? Surely 6000MW – 25 per cent of so-called capacity? Surely, as the claim goes, the wind will be blowing somewhere? No, well what about 3000MW?

Try 67MW – as was the case, Thursday morning at 11.35am. It must have been a beautiful, indeed utterly perfect, English (and Scottish and Welsh) summer day: not a breath of wind anywhere on the ground and all around freed Albion.

Just let that reality sink in, because it is the future we are rushing insanely to embrace: the installed capacity of the wind turbines is 25,000MW; on a very good day generation can run at 13,000MW; but entirely – at their choosing – they can generate as little as 67MW.

And these appropriately termed “grid generation choke points” are not just very brief episodes; over this last week the wind has hardly been blowing in and around Britain at all, both all night and all day.

Since Sunday morning a week ago, all through that day and night, all through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, generation from wind was barely ticking over the meter in the 100mw-300MW range, finally, belatedly ticking up to around 1000MW Friday morning.

So where were the Brits getting their power from?

For starters, a little bit was coming from ultra-wicked coal-fired generation. A little bit in absolute terms, a lot compared with wind.

At that point when all those 11,000 wind turbines were generating all of 67MW, Britain was getting 14 times as much, 981MW, from coal – the coal that our duo of distinguished prime ministerial twittering twerps Kevin and Malcolm were last year celebrating as having been banished into British history.

At that point in time Britain was getting 83 per cent of its grid power from wicked sources: gas (55.4 per cent), nuclear (16 per cent), biomass – burning woodchips and emitting even more CO2 than coal – (8 per cent) and coal (3.4 per cent); with another 16 per cent coming from the six extension cords into European grids which themselves are mostly nuclear and gas and a little coal.

That was, yes, just one moment – ten minutes actually – in time; but right through last week, the wind drought went for the entire week, for 120 hours straight before a few drafts started to kick wind generation up to a still pathetic 1000MW, out of the 30,000MW being demanded on Friday.

Britain’s suicidal march to its supposed all-renewables future is its problem. All, and I mean all, the generation sources that delivered 99 per cent of the power needed when the wind chose not to blow for an entire week came from generation sources which Britain has vowed to close.

On the one hand the wicked CO2-generating coal and gas (and wood chips); on the other, nuclear and the extension cords into similar wicked generators in mainland Europe.

But we have taken our suicidal insanity to the next level.

We are not only going to ditch all the coal-fired generators that have kept the lights so reliably on for a century – and there’s as close to absolute zero of any prospect of non-CO2-emitting nuclear this side of the arrival of those submarines, or the 12th of never, whichever comes first.

And gas? Oh sure; read me another fairy story. Then read it to various state premiers who’ve banned even looking for it.

But worse in our case, just exactly which other country’s grids are we going to plug the extension cords into which have saved Britain from actual blackouts, even while it’s still got massive gas and nuclear generation?

The latest idiot we’ve imported to run our electricity grid – someone named Daniel Westerman, from of all places Britain’s National Grid – has nominated as his signature goal getting our grid able to handle 100 per cent renewables by 2025.

I use the term idiot not pejoratively but constructively and even instructively. Coming as he does from Britain, you would have thought he would understand that the real “challenge” in the fantasyland renewables future we have insanely embraced, is not what you do when wind and solar can give you 100 per cent, but when they choose to give you zero or all-but zero.

If they choose to give you zero for an hour or two maybe you can build enough Tesla batteries and wasteful Snowy Two Dams – the aforesaid Malcolm’s “Big Battery” – to fill the gap.

But there is no way, no way, that batteries could keep a near 100 per cent wind and solar supplied grid running for five days, as was necessitated in Britain this last week.

And no, Daniel, you will discover that even in Australia there are days when the wind ain’t blowing much. Pray it’s not also cloudy on those days.

Full post & comments ($)

The post Net Zero leccie: When the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum.

via The Global Warming Policy Forum


July 25, 2021 at 03:16AM