Eat less meat and fly less to help climate, says Patrick Vallance

According to the UK's chief scientist, green technology and behavioral changes are needed in order to combat climate change.
Carbon emissions can be reduced by eating vegan food Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

According to the UK's chief scientific advisor, tackling the climate crisis will require behavioral changes like eating less meat and flying less.

Patrick Vallance made these comments while he was joined by senior scientists from all over the globe to make a statement in advance of the COP26 Climate Talks, which start on 31 October in Glasgow (UK). It urged leaders to urgently take action to limit global warming to 1.5C above preindustrial levels. Anything beyond that will result in more severe consequences of global warming.

Nearly 40 chief scientists and their equivalents signed the statement. It stated that it was possible to limit temperature rises to 1.5C with drastic reductions in global emission levels by 2030, and to zero overall by 2050.


According to the advisers, stabilizing the climate would reduce sea level rises and extreme weather conditions, increase prosperity, and protect both human health and nature.

They stated that addressing climate change will require international collaboration in research and innovation. This is to ensure new solutions are developed and delivered across all economic sectors.

To learn more about how green living can be used to combat climate change, take our online sustainability course.

They warned that it is crucial to take action to adapt to climate change's consequences, which are already certain.

As leaders and negotiators travel to Glasgow to attend the latest round UN talks on the climate crisis, the statement states that limiting global warming will require urgent, immediate and sustained action as well as significant socioeconomic and technological changes across the globe.

It stated that this must start with the rapid scaling up and deployment of many existing and new technological solutions.

The advisers suggested that governments should concentrate on piloting and scaling-up existing green technologies over a decade, accelerate the development of next generation solutions, and include all parts of society in the green transformation, which must be fair, affordable, and accessible.

Vallance stated that 1.5C is possible, it is what we should aim for, but that action is needed now. He said that this decade is for innovation research and development. Otherwise, the world will not be able achieve the 1.5C target. This will require detailed plans, technology, behavioral change, and monitoring to ensure that it is achieved.

Vallance stated that behavioural changes would be needed to reduce meat eating and flying. He also said that there would be a shift away from the amount of meat eaten in the past. I believe we all will need to consider our flying habits.

He said that technology advances have made it possible to make green transportation more feasible. It is a collection of small actions from everyone that can make a difference in the climate challenge. Even though they seem small, they can make a big difference when they are accumulated across millions of people.

Vallance stated that the majority of technologies required to make the world greener are already in place. He cautioned against relying upon a new technology that will solve the problem.

He said that the green choice must be easy, which includes price and convenience. People need to have a clear understanding of their individual options to make a difference.

Register for the Countdown to CO26 newsletter, which covers this important year in climate policy