A UN panel has released the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) where IPCC advises the world’s nations to alter land usage and reduce the consumption of meat.
The report states that farming and forestry account for 23% of human carbon emissions and that land usage and dietary changes, therefore, must be part of the solution in combating alleged catastrophic climate change.
In a press conference, one of the authors of the report, Cynthia Rosenzweig, said that “diets present a major opportunity for reducing greenhouse gasses as well because diets that are rich in plant-based foods emit lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that are very heavy in red meat consumption.”
This is not the first time the UN has proposed changes to our food to save the planet. In 2018, a team of scientists suggested replacing meat with insects. Beef is at the top of the food chain and therefore, highly energy intensive. By comparison, insects are incredibly efficient and can produce a protein-rich diet with much fewer resources.
It should come as no surprise that people are not standing in line to add bugs to their meals voluntarily. Nevertheless, there may be a use for insects as animal feed. Indirectly, they may contribute to making meat production more efficient.
In the meantime, politicians are seizing on food as the new frontier for carbon taxation. Germany, the land of the increasingly unfree, is considering introducing a 19% meat tax to combat climate change.
Food is also likely going to have a significant role in the 2020 presidential election, regardless of which Democratic candidate wins the nomination. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently released a plan focusing on de-carbonizing American agriculture. She thereby follows in the footsteps of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), and former Vice President Joe Biden in targeting agriculture as part of their climate policy.
However, amidst this focus on a minuscule portion of the world’s carbon budget, the media and politicians leave out a key fact about the atmosphere: Fully 60% of global human emissions disappear! No-one fully understands why, but the most likely suspects are the oceans and a rapidly greening earth.
As the CO2-level increases, the oceans more easily absorb this trace gas. Most plants evolved during a time when the CO2-levels were about ten times higher than today, and our emissions have therefore boosted growth dramatically. According to a 2018 study, new vegetation corresponding to two times the area of the US had grown in the last 35 years.
Thus, the inconvenient truth for power-hungry politicians is that while global temperature and the oceans are not rising much, nature gobbles up most of our emissions for free. Even better: The effect is not waning. On the contrary. In the last two decades, nature has eaten more of our emissions than ever. By great luck, it turns out that burning fossil fuels is revitalizing the biosphere and making it easier to feed the ever-growing population of the earth. For now, it means you can safely eat your steak and have it too.