Touts Need to Remove Beef from Diet to Fight Climate Change

May 30th, 2017 6:26 PM

Even if you drive a hybrid car, install solar panels on your house, maintain a compost pile in your backyard, and collect rainwater for reuse, you’re still contributing to climate change if you eat beef, according to proponents of climate change ideology.

A May 15 CNN slideshow/article titled, “These are the most climate-damaging foods,” discussed a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report and the list of ten foods NRDC said most significantly contribute to climate change “based on emissions associated with producing them.” 

The caption for the first photo in CNN’s slideshow said: “Beef is widely recognized as the most climate-damaging of all foods.” It also stated: 

Reducing beef consumption is an effective way of curbing global emissions. According to the NRDC, Americans now consume 19 percent less beef than just over a decade ago, in 2005. This is equivalent to a reduction of 185 million metric tons of emissions, or the annual tailpipe pollution of 39 million cars. But why is beef so bad? “The feed is largely produced using lots of pesticide and fertilizer, which requires fossil fuels,” explains Sujatha Bergen, one of the authors of the study. “Also, the digestive system of the cows produces methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And the manure emits additional greenhouse gases.

Following beef, the rest of the foods in descending order from highest to lowest levels of associated CO2 emissions included: lamb, butter, shellfish, cheese, asparagus, pork, veal, chicken, and turkey. CNN explained that “lard and beef tallow…dry milk products…and other added fats and oils such as palm oil” were not included in the list. 

Noting that in the list, butter is “[t]he third most damaging food, by some distance.” The CNN 
piece also said: “It belongs to the same supply chain [as beef], making dairy and beef cattle an 
environmentalist’s nightmare.” 

Air transportation contributed to asparagus-related emissions. CNN quoted Bergen saying: “In general, if people are looking to minimize their climate impacts, they should avoid air freighted foods as much as possible.” 

A press release on the NRDC’s website quotes Bergen advocating for consumers to decrease meat consumption and increase their intake of “plant-based food” in order to combat climate change: 

As a nation, we have been increasingly eating less beef—a trend that’s not just better for our health, but the health of the planet. By continuing to eat more plant-based food and less animal products, we can continue this forward progress in kitchens across the country.

NRDC’s press release also stated:

By eating more fruits and vegetables—and making even modest reductions in the amount of [sic] meat and dairy we consume—we can make a bigger dent in climate change pollution moving forward, according to the report. In fact, if every American ate just one-third less beef per year, it would cut climate pollution equal to that created by 10 million cars every year. 

Consumers can make these changes right in their own kitchens. Restaurants can help by putting more fruits and vegetables at the center of the plate. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture can recommend less red meat in the nutritional guidelines it issues for the National School Lunch Program when it updates them in 2021.

The idea that individuals should alter their dietary habits to combat climate change offers yet another example of the influence of climate change ideology.

So if you adhere to this ideology and you want to fight climate change, hopefully you dropped the hamburger this weekend! If not, it may be you who contributed to humanity's downfall.