The BBC, misreporting a United Nations report, wants us to switch to a mostly plant-based diet in order to alter the weather. Would it work? No. A recent “meta-analysis” of all the peer-reviewed papers on this topic found that if the average westerner gave up meat altogether it would cut her total emissions by just 4.3 per cent. This is because food is only a modest part of our emissions. And since vegetables are cheap, the savings would almost certainly be spent on other things with emissions attached, so the actual reduction would be even smaller than that. The effect on the climate would be unmeasurable.
“Eating carrots instead of steak means you effectively cut your emissions by about two per cent,” says the environmental economistBjorn Lomborg. “As a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I will be the first to say that there are many good reasons to eat less meat. Sadly, making a huge difference to the climate isn’t one of them.”
Although the BBC seems oddly obsessed with the topic of meat – given how little difference it would make – at least it does not intend to force us to become vegetarians, let alone vegans. Or does it? Last November the former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, mused: “How about restaurants in 10-15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated? If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.” The climate is just the latest feeble excuse for the nannies who love to lecture us about our diet. In an all too familiar progression, what starts out as a suggestion then becomes ostracism and ends in state coercion. All based on a false premise.
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