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Christian charity backs calls for frequent flyer tax and gas boiler ban in climate fight

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK has welcomed recommendations from the nation's first   national citizens' assembly on climate change.

On Thursday, the group released its final report on cutting emissions to net zero.

Here are some of the key recommendations:

- Surface transport

A ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030-2035, with moves to quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles and grants for low carbon cars.

- Air travel

People should still be allowed to fly, but there should be limits to the growth in passenger numbers and frequent and long-haul flyers should pay more, with taxes that increase as people fly more often and further.

- In the home

Efforts to retrofit homes to cut emissions need to minimise disruption in the home, put in place support around costs, and offer flexibility and choice to homeowners.

- What we eat and how we use the land

A change in the diet to reduce meat and dairy consumption by 20%-40%, with education to help make the changes voluntary, and labelling food and drink products to show the emissions that come from different foods.

- What we buy

Targets, standards and taxes to ensure businesses make products using less and lower carbon energy and materials, and carbon emissions labelling for products.

- Where our electricity comes from

Offshore wind, solar power and onshore wind should be used to generate electricity as the UK moves to net zero.

Andy Lester from A Rocha UK applauded the recommendations but told Premier it will be a big challenge for them to be implemented.

"They are realistic in as much as it's the direction of travel we need to take. But the big challenge is persuading the decision-makers that we need to do it really, really fast. And therein lies the problem. 

"We've got a Government that is dragging its heels and we've got a global community that see climate change as a substantial problem, but one that we can still afford to kick down the road. 

"So we welcome it [the recommendations]. We would say perhaps it doesn't go far enough. But delivering it is going to be difficult because it demands government attention, and demands a government shift to a much earlier date to shed fossil fuels.  At the moment, we don't see that happening."

Lester said if changes aren't made soon the UK will start seeing harsher effects of climate change like extreme weather and food scarcity, things that are already happening in other parts of the world. 

"In the course of the next five to 10 years, the impacts on everyday life in Britain will become much more pronounced," he said. 

The recommendations came as conservation group WWF announced nature is now in "freefall" as a result of agriculture, logging and development.
It said global wildlife populations have fallen by more than two-thirds since 1970. It's calling for swift action to tackle wasted food by retailers and consumers.

Listen to Premier's full interview with Andy Lester and hear about how a project the charity is working on with a Christian school in order to teach pupils about how to take care of God's creation. 


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