‘I’m eating a bit less of everything’: Boris Johnson laughs off calls for people to cut down on meat to help tackle climate crisis ahead of Cop26
Boris Johnson has laughed off calls from his science chief for people to cut down on meat to save the environment – joking that he is cutting down on food generally.
The PM, who has famously struggled with his weight, made the quip as he was asked about Sir Patrick Vallance saying he had opted to eat less meat.
Mr Johnson admitted he had experience a long ‘road to Damascus’ over the importance of tackling climate change.
Boris Johnson laughed off calls from his science chief for people to cut down on meat to save the environment – joking that he is cutting down on food generally – while en route to the G20 summit in Rome and ahead of next month’s Cop26 climate summit
He said he had been swayed by an early briefing from experts when he entered Downing Street.
Speaking to reporters en route to the G20 summit in Rome, he said: ‘I got them to run through it all, and if you look at the almost vertical kink upward in the temperature graph, the anthropogenic climate change, it’s very hard to dispute.
‘That was a very important moment for me.’
But when pushed if he was following Sir Patrick’s example by eating less meat as a way to limit his carbon footprint, Mr Johnson laughed and referenced his health kick.
‘I’m eating a bit less of everything, which may be an environmentally friendly thing to do,’ he said.
The Prime Minister’s comments came after Vallance told BBC Breakfast on Friday that his key message to world leaders at Cop26 ‘is that 1.5C is both important and achievable, but it requires urgent action – evidence-based, science-based action.
‘We need collaboration internationally across science to make sure that we get science innovation across the world globally accessible, and we need to build capacity for research and development in those countries which need it in order to get to the solution.’
Asked what a good result from Cop26 would look like, he said there is a ‘need to commit to active plans’ and a ‘lot needs to happen this decade’.
He said there is also a need to make a big investment in technology, and to ‘make the green choice the easy choice’ for individuals, adding that he cycles to work, has cut his meat consumption and is flying less.
Asked about the Budget incentive to encourage flying around the UK and whether it sent the wrong message, Sir Patrick said his scientific advice is that ‘all of us taking some action to reduce flying would be a beneficial thing’ and there is a need to get to a sustainable way of flying.
Earlier this year, sources revealed that Johnson’s weight-loss drive had been so successful that he’s had to splash out on a new wardrobe after dropping a suit size.
The PM, who has famously struggled with his weight, made the quip as he was asked about Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured in London, October 28) saying he had opted to eat less meat
They claimed he has even been throwing away his old clothes to motivate himself to keep off the weight.
By March, it was reported that Mr Johnson – who was 16st 7 lb when he caught Covid last year – had shed nearly two stone with a combination of diet and exercise.
His wife, Carrie Symonds, is also ‘playing a big part’ in how careful he is with his diet. Mr Johnson rarely drinks alcohol, has cut out ‘late-night cheese’, eats less chocolate and runs regularly, the sources said at the time.
Johnson’s comments on Friday came ahead of next month’s Cop26 summit, which will see world leaders descend on Glasgow for crunch climate talks.
Speaking earlier on Friday, the Prime Minister compared climate change to the fall of the Roman Empire tonight warning society could return to the dark ages with ‘terrifying’ speed.
The PM gave an apocalyptic vision of the future as he arrived at the G20 in the Italian capital, where he will desperately try to build momentum ahead of the COP26 summit next week.
Mr Johnson delivered an extraordinary warning that generations to come could slump into illiteracy – and even suggested cows could get smaller.
He argued that after the collapse of Rome, civilisation even lost the ability to draw properly – saying ‘our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’ could face food and water shortages.
The Prime Minister is said to have become much more environmentally conscious since he met his wife Carrie Johnson (pictured)
The comments came amid fears that the Glasgow gathering could end up as a damp squib.
China’s premier Xi Jinping has confirmed that he will not attend the event in person, although he will make a speech by video link.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also shunning the summit along with Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro.
Speaking to reporters en route to the G20, Mr Johnson said: ‘Humanity as a whole, at half time is about 5-1 down.
‘We have got a long way to go but we can do it.
‘We have the ability to equalise, to save the position, to come back but it will take a huge amount of effort.’
In a long description of the tragedy of the Roman Empire, Mr Johnson said ‘things can go backwards as well as forwards’.
‘Unless we get this right in tackling climate change we could see our civilisation, our world, also go backwards and we could consign future generations to a life that is far less agreeable than our own.’
COP26 begins in Glasgow on Sunday and will look to build on agreements made at the Paris climate summit in 2015 where nations agreed to try to keep global heating to below 1.5C
The Prime Minister’s comments come at a time where some have claimed that the absence of China and Russia’s premiers will make COP26 a damp squid
He went on: ‘We could consign our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren to a life in which there are not only huge movements of populations and huge migrations, but also shortages of food, shortages of water, of conflict caused by climate change and there is absolutely no question that this is a reality that we must face.’
Mr Johnson said after Roman civilisation humanity became ‘far less literate’.
‘Look at evidence of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire if you doubt what I say, when Rome fell humanity became far less literate overall, people lost the ability to read and write, they lost the ability to draw properly, they lost the ability to build in the way the Romans did.’
He said: ‘Things can go backwards and they can go backwards at a really terrifying speed.’
COP26 begins on Sunday at Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and will welcome 30,000 delegates, 10,000 police and as many as 200,000 protesters for the 13-day conference.