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Time to cut back on red meat and take fewer flights, says Norwich MP Clive Lewis

PUBLISHED: 06:58 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 02 January 2019

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

People need to change how they live, including cutting back on red meat and taking fewer flights, to help avert climate change, Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has warned.

A stark report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently said unprecedented changes, including halving carbon by 2030 and bringing it to net zero, are urgently needed to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

And, in an interview with The Guardian, Labour MP Clive Lewis said political leadership is crucial if people are to be convinced to play their part.

Mr Lewis said the public needs to face up to “real, stark choices” if food and power shortages, biological degradation and biodivresity loss were to be avoided.

He said: “If you actually want a planet that’s inhabitable, then we need to make some choices together, now, and some of them are about quite dramatic changes to how we live.”

Mr Lewis, shadow Treasury minister, has been tasked by his party him with looking at how a Labour government would champion sustainable economics and has raised £17,500 from individual donors to help with his work.

He said it was important that environmental sustainability should form a key element in thinking over government spending decisions.

He said the government should “encourage people and show leadership as to how we’re going to shift people’s eating habits on to a more sustainable footing” and revealed Labour was looking at ways which could decrease air travel - a contributor to carbon emissions.

He said one possibility was a tax ‘escalator’ which would impact frequent fliers the most.

And he called for the next Labour manifesto to be much more radical than the one his party formulated for the last general election.

He said: “The 2017 manifesto gave a lot of people a kind of warm, cuddly glow, and it was a great reset of our values and where we are, but it was a base on which to build.”

He said there was a “hunger” for a more radical manifesto next time, reflecting “21st century socialism in action.”

He added it was time to ditch “the obsession with falt-screen TVs and consumption”.

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