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Alok Sharma says he’s gone vegetarian for sake of the planet

Mr Sharma took inspiration from his own vegetarian daughter

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 31 October 2021 13:12 GMT
Cop26 president Alok Sharma
Cop26 president Alok Sharma (PA)

The Cop26 president Alok Sharma has announced he has made the switch to a vegetarian diet to do his bit for the planet.

Following in the footsteps of his vegetarian daughter, he told the Mail on Sunday he took the decision to cut out meat, fish and poultry after she asked him what he was going to “do for the environment.”

He said: “The reason I gave up meat is because my younger daughter, who went vegetarian some years ago and is very focused on environmental issues, basically said to me when I got this role, ‘What am I going to do for the environment?’’’

It comes after George Eustice, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, told the Telegraph that the government was working on a so-called ‘meat tax’ to curb the impact of global warming.

He said changes to the £3.5 billion EU subsidy for farmers would be changed to incentivise to produce food that is higher-quality and more climate-conscious over the next seven years.

When asked about the potential tax, Mr Sharma told the Mail on Sunday: “Ultimately, issues on tax and spend are for the Chancellor.”

“But I would say, my approach on these things has always been about carrot rather than stick. ‘At the end of the day, we ought to be encouraging people rather than forcing them to go in a particular direction.”

On Sunday morning, the Cop26 president also swerved questions over the prospect of the Cambo oilfield receiving approval, saying: “That’s not my decision, that’s not my role.”

Mr Sharma was on Saturday evening branded a “hypocrite” by activists for the UK government’s support of the oil field while speaking at the closing ceremony of the COY16 youth conference.

Lord Deben, the chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC), has previously suggested of Cambo: “We really do have to face up to the issue that there may be some occasions where we think that development could be of a kind which would help our move towards net zero to such a degree that it’s worth doing.

“But we always have to remember that the moment you do any of that, you’re setting an example that will be quoted throughout the world as showing this kind of development is acceptable.”

Asked about the remarks, Mr Sharma told the BBC: “Well, as I said, that’s no my decision, that’s not my role.

“When a decision is made I’m very happy to come back and discuss it.”

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