back to article 'Go veggie to save the planet' UN, EU plans debunked

Yet more United Nations analysis of the measures necessary to combat climate change has come under fire from scientists. This time, rather than the (in)famous 2007 assessment report from the UN's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the criticism is levelled at a 2006 report called Livestock's Long Shadow issued by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In vitro

    Best solution would be for in-vitro meat. Still in its early stages but give it 15 years and it shouldn't be too hard to produce lab meat farms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Sorry, but....<barf>.

      If it's anything as bad/artificial as Quorn, I'll be fishing out my longest barge pole.

      I know it's wikipedia, but browse here for a total gross-out:

      Doesn't most of the flavour/texture of "proper" beef come from the cattles' diet and activity regime anyway? Not something you can replicate in a vat, I suspect.

      1. Ainteenbooty


        I'm sure they could try to approximate physical activity with electrical current, like those free exercise belts for lazy people.

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    The prof is speaking sense...

    ... so there's no chance the UN IPCC will take any notice whatsoever!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Talking Sense?

      Is he? How can you tell? There's no data. Just assertions from one person who might be a chemist, but doesn't therefore necessarily know anything about anything. Even if the entirety of American Chemistry Magazine supports him ... so fucking what? More boffins don't. I know y'all don't like it, but science _is_ done on consensus (*). Maths might be objective - might - but tying maths to words ain't. I'm guessing he's talking "sense" because he agrees with your opinion, and I'm also going to guess that your opinion is based on a few articles you've read that agreed with your opinion, and so on, and so on. A science fail to you, the "boffin", the author, most of the non-scientific IT-tards one finds here, etc.

      Or perhaps you all believe in Steady State theory and Hidden Variables, just because some other people do.

      Right, I'm off to tell Physics that its nonsensical Quantum Mechanics is clearly leftist agit-prop. Although ... which one? Whither truth?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "The prof says that in the United States, the true picture is that transportation accounts for 26 per cent of greenhouse emissions and cattle and pig farming just three per cent. It makes little sense therefore for wealthy westerners ..."

      Fun fact. The US is really big. USians like to drive a lot. USians will drive for fucking hours in a way that most other westerners don't and won't. Oh dear, I'm sorry, I appear to have broken your model.

      Is he still talking sense? It took me five seconds of actual reading to spot that. Now you have a go.

  3. Dirk Vandenheuvel


    To be honest... if you really believe that eating a lot of meat is good for the planet, you should be taken out and shot.. or eaten. Fudd at it's best.

    1. Ainteenbooty


      Well, eating a lot of veggies reduces CO2 uptake, so you should be shot too. (Assuming of course that the CO2 footprint of the firearm discharge doesn't displace the savings.)

  4. Number6

    Less Meat, Less Heat

    Presumably if we turned that on its head and ate more meat, we'd eventually end up with self-cooking steaks.

  5. Shaper

    Bad science reporting

    whether livestock is more or less harmful than transport is not in the least bit relevant.

    I'm not sure why it was ever mentioned, and I'm not sure why this comparison being inaccurate alters peoples opinions about the environmental impact of eating meat.

    Surely the only relevant comparison is between the environmental impact of x calories of animal based food (meat) against the same calorie value of vegetable.

    Any other numbers mentioned are just there because people want to confuse the issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Honest presentation is vital

      @Shaper: "whether livestock is more or less harmful than transport is not in the least bit relevant."

      Understanding the relative harmfulness of any activity is of vital importance. Without this, the data will lead to the inevitable conclusion that humans are bad for the environment. Some people have actually come to that conclusion, but I think it's about as logical as believing that life is bad for your health (which is also true, but meaningless).

      If we are destroying our planet - and we also need to be sure this is really the case - we must very clear about how and why it is happening. Otherwise, we will only exhaust our efforts on activities that assuage our guilt but do nothing to remedy the underlying problems. In other words, we will continue destroying the world but feel much better about it. Worse, we may fall victim to those who exploit any popular concern or belief for their own ends.

      I am increasingly concerned that science is becoming a puppet in the hands of people who are either seeking power or peddling some ideology (or both). If the public is fed a constant stream of data presented as fact, and a significant proportion of that information is subsequently exposed as misleading or false, all scientific study will be tarred with the same brush.

      If we studied the problem honestly, we might discover that eating meat fits into the normal 'circle of life'. But we might also discover that our whole economic model of mass manufacture, consumption, and disposal doesn't add up - and then what would we do?

    2. Boring Bob


      It is important to know the comparative impact of our actions to know where to target CO2 savings. If we don't do this we could end up spending a lot of time and effort on totally useless things like changing all the light bulbs in the world for mercury polluting ones.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dodgy numbers.

    The dodgiest bit of these dodgy numbers is that they included greenhouse gas emissions from every little step of the process of meat getting to your plate, even though most of those apply equally to veggies. After all the average carrot does not jump out of a field and fly to your plate, arriving magically prepared.

    And as for cow farts, aren't they offset by vegetarian farts?

    In all seriousness however I am getting sick of all the pseudo science surrounding the global warming debate. If we accept for a moment that human activity is causing global warming many of the methods we are encouraged to use to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions simply do not add up. And the main reason for this is that the people dreaming up these methods are either not qualified to do so or have a vested interest.

    Surely everybody is aware that scrapping an old car and buying a new one will do much more harm to the environment in the short term than continuing to run the old one, even with it's higher emissions.We all know the manufacture and transport of the new car causes more harm to the environment than driving an older car for years, but somehow we allow politicians to push things like the scrappage scheme as an enviromental solution.

    And then there's the fact that big business and politicians use the issue of global warming to sweep other environmental problems under the carpet. Remember when "pollution" meant all sorts of nasty emissions? These days it just means greenhouse gas. Or rather a very select group of greenhouse gasses. It seems that politicians and their pet scientists don't want us to know about some greenhouse gasses. Water vapour? Nah, that's not a greenhouse gas. Is it?

    How long before the catalytic converter comes under fire because it reduces fuel economy and so increases the emissions of CO2? On the other hand we're expected to turn a blind eye to the mercury used in "low energy" lightbulbs. And if we don't we're told it's not a problem because there's a tiny amount of mercury in each bulb and they last for ages so disposal isn't a problem. Except they don't last nearly as long as is claimed. And what happens when a factory making the bulbs manages to spill it's entire stock of mercury into the water table? That's not a problem, because mercury isn't a greenhouse gas.

    Maybe one day we'll be allowed an open and honest debate on global warming and the causes thereof where interested parties actually present us with facts and figures and not leave anything out. I'm not going to hold my breath while I wait.

    1. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      "we all know..."

      Dodgy indeed. You're asking for it by starting a sentence with that phrase.

      First, the manufacturing of a reasonably modern car accounts for < 10% of its total energy requirement over its lifetime, assuming recycled rather than new aluminium and a lifespan of 120,000 miles (1). So if you scrap after 60,000 miles instead and your new car is > 20% more efficient, teh back of my envelope says it should be a net win.

      Second, CFL lights contain about 4mg of mercury - compare that to estimated lethal dose of 10-60mg/kg (2), and mercury in a kg of trout of about 1.3mg (3).

      Open and honest debates start with you checking your figures before you spout off, sunshine.

      (1) - yes it's google answers, but don't knock it until you've read it.



    2. chr0m4t1c

      There must be a tipping point, though

      "Surely everybody is aware that scrapping an old car and buying a new one will do much more harm to the environment in the short term than continuing to run the old one, even with it's higher emissions.We all know the manufacture and transport of the new car causes more harm to the environment than driving an older car for years, but somehow we allow politicians to push things like the scrappage scheme as an enviromental solution."

      That may be true for the short term, but what about the longer term? And don't forget that environmental issues are not the only concern.

      I was chatting to a mate just last week about his >10 year old car and it turned out that he was getting less than half the mpg that I do with my ~2 year old car. So, yes, my car will have had a much greater environmental effect in the short term, but in the longer term his is using up a finite resource twice as fast as mine is and probably putting quite a few more bad things into the environment while it does it.

      The scrappage scheme is intended to get cars like his off the road not just because of the general environmental impact but also to reduce the rate we use up our resources. The age limit is a rough estimate of when the average car starts causing more problems than are solved by building and running a new one.

      I know the politicians are touting it as an environmental idea, but that's only part of the overall picture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Scrappage scheme is a pile of shite...

        I'd bet your mates car is twice the size of your car, or has way more power.

        My small family sized diesel car is ten years old and manages about 50mpg. While not a class beater any more, you have to search quite far to actually find one that's doing much more than 60mpg.

        Even then most of the time, the modern figures are actually so far out it's laughable.

        I regularly drive hire cars for my job. I recently discovered it's possible to achieve 30mpg out of a so called brand new Eco fiesta.

        I really see no evidence that modern cars are really any more efficient than cars from 20 years ago. Regardless of what the published MPG figures are showing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Official MPG

          The "official" mpg figures are, as you say, laughable. The reason for this is that the simulated cycle has to apply to all vehicles. It matters not whether a vehicle will do 0-60 in under four seconds the simulated cycle calls for the car to accelerate very slowly. I don't recall the actual figures, but it's something like accelerating to 50mph in 25 seconds.

          You might think this favours high performance cars, but it does an awful lot for economy cars. In everyday driving you seldom get to drive pedal to the metal. Normally you accelerate at a speed dictated by the traffic, so a high performance car will be accelerating on a whiff of throttle and there will be little difference between the official figure and the real world figure. An supposedly economical car will often need to be thrashed to keep up with the traffic and will, as a result, achieve worse economy in the real world than the official figures would lead you to expect. Stand a hundred yards downstream of a busy junction and the cars you hear revving hard will be economy models, most larger cars will be emitting little more than tyre noise. Until recently we had two cars, a Daihatsu Cuore and a Mitsubishi Lancer. The Lancer generally achieves 37-40mpg, which is similar to the official figure. The Daihatsu, however, only managed 40-44mpg which is a long way short of it's official figure. Why would that be then? Well driving the two cars at the same constrant speed would require a similar amount of power (slightly more for the larger, heavier Mitsubishi) modern engines being as efficient as they are the SHC would be very similar. Accelerating the two cars at the same rate would also require a similar amount of power, this time the weight of the Mitsubishi would be more telling. Most people drive at the same rate whatever vehicle they are in and nobody, except the drunk old feller I was following last night, drives at the rate dictated by the official simulated driving cycle.

          Remember when the emphasis was placed on mpg at a constant 56mph? What happened hthen was that manufacturers who wanted to sell economy would set up their cars to be most efficient at that speed, fiddling with gearing and ignition timing and fueling to achieve it. I remember one small french car that had a hole in it's power deliver in the mid fifties in top gear. Probably not a coincidence.

          The search for ever higher official mpg figures also means that gearing is getting higher and higher. I recently had a brand new coutesy car which according to most of the spec should have been reasonably nippy, however I found that on the motorway it would not accelerate at all in top gear under most circumstances. Similarly it could not hold top gear on any uphill sections. Any acceleration or hill climbing at all required that I change down a gear or two. Checking the specs in more datail showed that it was geared so high that even the engine fro top of the range hot hatch could not have hit peak power in top. I wonder if this stupid effective overdrive and it's attendant requirement to use the lower gears resulted in real world economy figures that were worse than they would have been had a more sensible gear ratio been installed. Luckilly I only had the car for two days so I didn't get to do any measurements of mpg. Just as well though, I couldn't have lived with it any longer. You may find it hard to believe but switching on the air con at seventy actually made it slow down.

        2. chr0m4t1c
          Thumb Down


          "I'd bet your mates car is twice the size of your car, or has way more power."

          Actually, no. His is a small hatchback and mine is a large saloon. We calculated the figures from miles travelled and amount of fuel put in at the pump.

          So none of this was from published MPG figures.

          And before you ask, neither vehicle has any modifications, they're both standard trim.

          I get between 44-48mpg and he gets 21-24mpg. Undoubtedly we're not comparing like-for-like conditions and driving styles, but I'd really expect the figures to be the other way around (or even somewhere in the middle).

          N.B. He doesn't use his car for work, he isn't driving in heavy traffic conditions. He's generally using it to ferry family members around in the evenings and weekends. Also his wife does not drive so he's the only one using the car.

          As you may have noticed, this was not a scientific experiment carried out under rigorous test conditions, we merely compared how much fuel he had used for how far he had driven to my own figures because during a casual conversation we spotted that he was spending around the same on fuel that I was despite not driving nearly as much.

          So, going back to my original point, your car would indeed be a poor example to put in the scrappage scheme, but his would not. Do you see how this works?

          As I said, this was intended to be a "best guess", they could just have easily picked 12 years, 15 or even 8.

          Yes, there is no guarantee that if my mate scrapped his car for a new one that he would do any better, but since he commented that he seemed to be spending a lot more on fuel these days it seems likely that he would, he doesn't think there is much change in the driving he does do so it looks like a problem with the car itself - which may, of course be fixable.

  7. dr2chase

    Said prof is playing accounting games

    Because the "lifecycle" GHG footprint for beef is large, rather than take the trouble to equalize the comparisons by computing the lifecycle cost of transport, he instead omits it altogether.

  8. davenewman

    Report misses the point

    The ACS report shows that the UN got the denominator wrong - the amount of greenhouse gases resulting from transportation. But it has not changed the figures for greenhouse gas production from meat production - the numerator. The ratio has changed, but the damage from converting 10 tons of vegetable protein to 1 ton of beef is unchanged.

    The correct comparison is between CO2 + CH4 emissions from all stages in meat production, to that from eating vegetables directly, without feeding them to animals first.

    The correct response is to eat meet from animals grazed on grassland (we cannot eat grass), but to avoid meat fed on feed that we could eat directly: such as a typical Chinese diet with small amounts of meat providing variety in vegetarian dishes.

    1. copsewood

      closer but not quite there

      The correct comparison would be which of the following generates how much GHG:

      a. Wilderness of various kinds including wetlands.

      b. Arable farming

      c. Livestock farming based on grassland suitable for arable

      d. Livestock farming based on grassland unsuitable for arable

      e.Livestock farming based on grain fed livestock.

      As I understand it wet wilderness generates a great deal of GHG. We call methane "marsh gas" because that is how methane occurs in nature. Clearly draining wetlands, which has occurred extensively to provide agricultural land removes natural sources of GHG, as well as destroying a great deal of biodiversity. But we do need scientifically motivated and full comparisons here, not religiously motivated selective ones coming from those who imagine vegetarianism to be holier than meat eating so report science selectively in order to impose their religious views upon others.

      Badgers, because badgers, rabbits and wild animals fart too.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Speaking as a militant carnivore

    I for one welcome this rubbishing of the limp-wristed, namby-pamby views of the veggie minority

    However I don't like this bit: "A better plan, he argues, would be to encourage more efficient animal farming techniques as developed in the rich world" - in other words let's get the developing world to bring in battery farming. In my (totally unscientific opinion with no basis in fact other than my own experience) this usually results in poor quality meat with virtually no flavour - you might as well be eating tofu.

    Paris because - she knows what it's like to put some meat in her mouth

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Knock it off!

      I'm a six foot tall, built like a brick-outhouse Veggie, weighing around 16st.

      I avoid meat simply to keep my weight under control and it helps maintain a more health digestive system ( the gas aside!! ).

      Please drop this crap about Veggies being palid, 8 stone wimps, there are a lot of us who will drink and fight with the best and happily give ass-whooping to anyone who calls us wimps! We just don't like eating the fluffy baa-lambs or moo-cows, in fact anything with a face basically!

      1. dogged

        I have to report that

        we carnivores are still both bigger and more efficient, requiring less mass per day than a veggie to operate. This means I can be hitting more people throughout the day than you.

        Oh, and being four inches bigger helps with reach, too ;)

  10. druck Silver badge

    Bloody veggie crap

    Of course McCartney was only peddling this crap for the good of the planet, and nothing to do with his late wife's business of flogging disgusting meatless pap.

  11. Jimbo 6

    Never mind the CO2 argument...

    ‘ "Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries," Mitloehner says’

    Really ??? Not according to other scientists...

    “Most of the cereal production in the United States, Canada, Russian Federation and Australia ... is used to feed livestock which are used for dairy products, eggs or slaughtered for meat. This process of creating food is highly inefficient...the efficiency of animals to assimilate food energy is less than 10 %. In fact, it takes about 16 kg of grain and soybeans to produce 1 kg of edible beef. “ (Source : )

    So, let’s assume that the 350 million Americans all eat meat all the time (a reasonable assumption, I’d say). If they all went veggie, the amount of grain/soy freed up would feed 16 x 350 million people = 5.6 billion (fairly close to the current world population).

    Therefore, my conclusion is that there aren’t “too many people on the planet” (as the ‘maximum population’ axegrinders allege). The problem is, there are too many Americans.

    (Ok – “people living an Americanised lifestyle”, which includes most of us Brits and Yurpeans.)

    1. IR

      Selective data

      You've pretty much ignored the fact that there is a lot more energy in 1kg of beef than there is in grain. So you are going to have to cut your population numbers by at least two thirds. And it ignores the actual nutritional needs of people.

      Why is everyone concentrating so much on beef anyway? Chicken is far more efficient use of grain to meat. The cattle farms around me all use grass-fed cows, at least from spring to autumn, on land that is useless for growing crops.

      I'm doubting that the cow-efficiency report included the reduction in CO2 caused by the growing plants too.

      However, I do agree on your last point - too many Americans.

  12. Mark Walker
    Thumb Down

    One scientist's counter-opinion == debunk?

    Is El Reg now the climate-sceptic version of Auntie Beeb's unquestioning one-sided climate-change propaganda? Or is this just an example of lazy reporting and a leftover from Copenhagen kept for a slow-news day?

    El Reg brought valuable balance to reporting of Climategate, but some analysis of how Mitloehner's methodology and funding compare to the 2006 IPCC report instead of simply repeating his criticisms and conclusions as 'truth' would have been welcome

  13. Identity

    The Reg Denial Desk strikes again!

    When choosing your basis selectively, you can probably prove what ever you want. It's plain, though, that the methods used to raise meat have a direct effect on how much effluent is produced. Industrial methods are worse for the environment than traditional methods — adding in not just greenhouse gases, but things like manure lagoons (manure that might otherwise be spread on fields as fertilizer).

    Then there is the matter of how many pounds of grain (industrial meat is grain-fed, traditional is usually grass-fed, which is what cattle evolved to eat) it takes to make a pound of meat.The number varies between 2 and 20 lbs, depending on how you count. There is a good analysis at

    A detailed 1978 study sponsored by the Departments of Interior and Commerce showed that the value of raw materials consumed to produce food from livestock is greater than the value of all oil, gas, and coal consumed in this country.[1] Expressed another way, one-third of the value of all raw materials consumed for all purposes in the United States is consumed in livestock foods [2]

    As for whether transport is better or worse, can't we just agree that we have problems with both?


    [1] Raw Materials in the United States Economy 1900-1977; Technical paper 47, prepared under contract by Vivian Eberle Spencer, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Mines, p. 3.

    [2] Ibid. Table 2, p. 86.

    1. Steven Knox

      Speaking of choosing your basis selectively...

      You've conveniently selected OUT the value of end product from your comparison.

      From the website you linked to, the majority of cattle (industrial or traditional) is fed grass, not grain, for the majority of their weight, only being grain fed for "finishing" (~1/4 to 1/2 of their weight.) The article also points out the illogicality of using pound-of-grain to pound-of-meat comparisons, because even food cattle is used for more than food: "We utilize the entire animal, but not all for food..." -- to lay all of the raw materials cost on only one end product is an accounting fallacy.

      Finally, 1/3 of the value of all raw materials used in the US between 1900-1977 went into livestock foods. But how much value came out of it? In other words, did 1/3 of raw materials go into livestock foods because they're expensive in terms of resources, or because livestock foods equates to about 1/3 of the value of US production of that time period? I believe a general understanding of capitalism will suffice to answer that question without the need for detailed research.

      The facts you've presented simply prove that livestock food production was, between 33 and 110 years ago, a significant part of US GDP. They say little to nothing to the efficiency or ecological effects of that industry, either then or now, which was the primary tenet of your secondary premise.

      So you chose your basis selectively and still failed to prove anything, which contradicts your primary premise.

  14. The Indomitable Gall

    And yet....

    The debunking doesn't examine the other, less contentious threat: water.

    Whether anthropogenic or merely part of the Earth's natural cycle, the climate is changing and water is becoming harder to get in many parts of the world (just ask a Cypriot). (Of course, a lot of our water use is again for everyday things like washing and healthcare...) Anyhow, the water cost of livestock rearing is higher than the producing the equivalent amount of edible vegetable matter.

    I'm not a veggie and I don't intend to turn veggie, but I do recognise that our meat consumption is much higher than in previous generations. Some people now even have meat in every meal -- sausages for breakfast, burger for lunch, lamb curry for dinner. I don't consider it turning "part veggie" if I have a bowl of porridge for breakfast and a pasta salad for lunch. I don't consider it turning "part veggie" if I go for a whole day -- or even two days, or three -- without meat.

    Sustainability is not a matter of forcing ourselves to underconsume, but rather a matter of not allowing ourselves to overconsume.

    No-one is advocating stopping washing, just not having two or three showers a day.

    Very few people advocate not having cars, just not using them to go half-a-mile down the road for a carton of milk or on a route with a perfectly good bus or train service.

    Same should apply to meat and dairy.

    1. dogged

      o rly?

      "Anyhow, the water cost of livestock rearing is higher than the producing the equivalent amount of edible vegetable matter."

      Where did you get this data? A quick séance with Linda McCartney?

      It's true, in a climate which is regarded as "temperate". It's horribly untrue anywhere else. Generally, meat crops in the Middle East and North Africa are about 30% more efficient in terms of water usage. And please bear in mind that all those hot countries are where the poor people live.

      Unless they don't matter, of course.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't add up

    "Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries," Mitloehner says. "The developed world should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food. In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse gas production."

    This sounds reasonable if you're unaware of the problem that farmed cows and pigs eat more food than they produce. Keep a few chickens, a goat, maybe a pig fed on scraps, and you can increase the amount of available food, but commercially farm large mammals and you end up using more food to feed them than they produce. Grow food and feed it directly to people and you get much, much more.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    By-Product of Vegetarianism

    Anyone wonder why cows fart so much?

    Anyone have any ideas about "the stink-, er, dirty little secret" of the vegetarian diet?

    If we all go veggie, will that actually decrease emissions, or just force us all to imbibe more fresh air by having to roll down the windows?

    ...mine's the one with the scorch marks in the back...

  17. Steve K

    Sunk carbon costs?

    Existing roads/factories have already been built, so their carbon cost is a sunk cost and surely irrelevant?

    Maintenance of existing roads/factories is a relevant carbon cost, as is the impact of building new ones.

    From a road transport point of view (as has been mentioned above), vegetables/tofu/soya beans do not fly to one's plate in the same way that cows/pigs/chickens don't, and so transport/harvesting/preparation icannot be a key differentiator


  18. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    So obvious it's wrong.

    "as obvious as recycling or hybrid cars" - neither of which are particular good solutions. They both only seek to mitigate poor practice.

    Rather than recycling rubbish we should try to limit the amount of rubbish we produce in the first place.

    Rather than trying to reclaim wasted energy we should seek not to waste it in the first place.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    How dumb is that?

    It's been very clear that transportationa ccounts for more emissions than meat production.

    However, this in no way changes the fact that meat production causes more emissions than production of vegetable foods.

    This article is the equivalent of buying a SUV because air transport causes more emissions than car transport. "Obviously" the SUV is fine as long as you don't fly.

  20. Piro Silver badge

    Inefficient? Yes

    No shit is feeding an animal, raising it, then slaughtering it less efficient than simply consuming the feed directly.

    Doesn't take a study to figure that out.

    That said, we do a lot of things that are inefficient just because we bloody well want to

  21. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I have my food prepared in India

    I buy superfluous body parts from Indian vegetarians. I could be sustained by eating vegetables myself but I choose not to. The meat is lean and generally free from developed world pollutants such as JCBs. An arm does meals for a whole week, and a leg, up to a month. Of course you can only do this if you've got a freezer. That probably has its own carbon footprint.

  22. DrXym

    Hang on

    I'm no vegetarian, but this article seems to imply that animals do contribute to CO2, just not as high a % as originally stated when compared to transport. Therefore whether or not going veggie is as eco friendly as might first be thought, it does still reduce CO2 emissions.

    Also I think transportation of goods is ignored far too much by governments. If something has to be shipped 15,000 miles in refrigeration containers (e.g. New Zealand lamb) then it obviously has more environmental impact than something sourced locally.

    1. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      Nope, wrong again.

      Weehee, I'm on a roll today. To be fair this surprised me as well when I first heard it., but there's nowt obvious about this one either:

      Best link I could find but I've heard the same conclusion from different sources. Sea miles are actually pretty efficient, especailly when you take into account lower production costs (naturally occurring grass vs artificial feedstock).

      Come on, who's next? Someone state another obvious fact!

      1. DrXym


        Interesting article but I'd have to read the report rather than summary to understand how they reach their conclusions.

        I wonder how lamb raised in Wales or elsewhere could possibly contribute more CO2 than lamb raised in New Zealand. I assume livestock in both countries would eat similar quantities of grass, crap similar quantities of crap, be reared in similar ways, be killed at similar points in their lives, be butchered in similar ways, be distributed in similar ways and be cooked in similar ways. Where does the higher contribution come from?

  23. Skizz

    Basically, we're f*cked.

    We clear the rainforests of Indonesia to grow palm oil to make bio-fuel. clear the Amazon to create pasture land for beef, build huge boats to get every last fish out of the sea...

    Climate scientists - had handy smokescreen for big business.

  24. Adam 10

    Sir Paul went to the EU?

    As one who has just returned from 3 days in Paris with a vegetarian, and various other trips to the continent in the past, I can safely say that telling a European to become a vegetarian is like telling them that English will become the only language of the EU...

    Western vegetarianism seems to be the preserve of the English-speaking countries... not surprising, with our cultural ties to India and commonly-held views on how lovely our cuddly fluffy animals are.

  25. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    May I nominate

    the cowpocalypse graphic as "Graphic Of The Year"? Great work to whoever got the cow to stand that close to a flame.

  26. Rosco


    I didn't see any mention of deforestation effects. It's mostly down to current trends in usage rather than any kind of underlying 'laws' of theoretical food production, but it should still be considered.

    In Indonesia, huge tracts of rainforest are being cleared to farm soy. In Argentina, similarly large tracts are cleared for beef production, and they account for a weirdly large proportion of the world's beef. How do the two measure up against eachother in terms of environmental impact?

    1. M man


      except most that soya ends up as KFC farmed in poland!

      flame for spicy hot wings...damn you hot wings!!!! i would be a veggie if it wasnt for you!!!!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has anyone done a study to see what the "emissions" of a vegitarian are? methane being the greenhouse gas in question...

    This is total crap like saying riding your bike is green, when in fact it is not when you factor in the energy and food consumption required by humans to do it, not forgetting punctures and replacing tyres.

    Why do people always think other ways are 100% green...

    If goverments were really concerned about it they would be using nuclear power exclusivly or building hydro electic/geothermal power plants (forget wind it's crap). Either that or start killing the population with wars... that will take down the energy use.

    1. dr2chase

      But in fact riding a bike IS green

      And if you believed this article, that would make it only more green. Math omitted, but if you think a substantial amount of GHGs go into the manufacture of a tyre patch compared to what it takes to produce, maintain, and fuel a car, there's really no point bothering you with math anyway.

      (The claims that cycling is "not green" depend upon (1) assuming that the cyclist eats only factory-farm beef for travel-fuel calories and (2) including the lifecycle costs of factory-farm beef in the GHG charge for that beef. Many foods, for example peanut butter, yield a 300-600 bicycle-passenger-miles-per-gallon energy equivalent (this includes the production cost of the peanut butter, which is low). The production costs of a bicycle itself are roughly proportional to the weight of the bicycle, hence 50-100x less than an automobile.)

    2. Red Bren

      Can you provide a link?

      "This is total crap like saying riding your bike is green, when in fact it is not when you factor in the energy and food consumption required by humans to do it, not forgetting punctures and replacing tyres."

      I have never heard of any scientific study that suggests cycling is environmentally damaging. Can you cite something to back up your claim?

      Any human activity will have some environmental impact, it's just cost/benefit analysis and working out who pays the cost and who gets the benefit.

  28. Andy 70
    Paris Hilton

    save ourselves by saving the planet, yes, but....

    all these claims and counter claims, accusations, and finger pointing are making people give up. yes we all want to help and do our bit, but one side "massages" their numbers a bit to put them in a positive light, the other side cry "foul" and then counter claim, then the counter counter claim... etc...

    what is real? what is not? the public on the whole just want to be told what to do in plain and simple terms.

    hence why recycling works. it's simple. plastic in this box, paper in this box, glass in this box, garden waste in this box, kitchen waste in this last one for the foxes/badgers/cats to knock over and spread up the road overnight. the fact it all goes into the same furnace as "bio fuel" is neither here nor there...

    anyway, this bullcrap has got to stop for anything environmentally friendly to actually happen on the scale it needs to.

    effing 'tards. if he wants to reduce his carbon footprint, why doesn't he just kill himself?

    Paris, Cos "Duh!"

  29. Anonymous Coward


    When you said "assuage our guilt" did you mean "sausage our guilt" ? Easy mistaka to maka.

  30. Nerdo


    I love how El Reg dismisses the work and consensus opinion of thousands of climate scientists, yet one dingleberry from UC Davis writes a report and it is taken as proof that scientists (except this one) are corrupt and trying to hoodwink the world.

    You should apply the same skepticism to Mitloehner's work. UC Davis is best known as a Vet Med school. Is there any chance that Mitloehner is getting money from the beef-growing overlords? Or perhaps is just so steeped in cattle rearing (hey, I don't mean it the dirty way) that he is defensive about any accusation that his life's work is causing harm to the planet?

    As others have said, it makes NO sense to say that the world's hungry are better served by taking 10 kg of grain and turning it into 1 kg of beef.

    Second, dunderheads, the greenhouse problem isn't just the CO2 chain (growing the grain, the massive deforestation in south america), but CH4 (methane) -- it has 8x the greenhouse effect compared to CO2 by volume, and even more by weight.

    Me, I'm a chickoterian (TM) -- I eat grains, vegetables and chicken, not much else.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Soylent Green mmmmmmmmmmm

    Cannot we kill two birds with one stone here. Too many veggies not enough beefsteaks. I suggest we militant carnivores just eat all the veggies. They can be properly marketed and packaged as Soylent this n that. Kentucky Fried Soylent. etc.

    At the very least if it doesn't save the planet it will at least make the place a lot quieter and happier.

    As my mum said...Eat all your Veggies!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a veggie

    I can safely say that my lifestyle choice is no better for the environment than eating meat since I consume dairy and for the most part wear leather shoes.

    As for Paul McCartney he has no right to force his views on others since he owns a larger property than most, thereby increasing carbon consumption. Plus the food his dead wife peddled tastes terrible and is known for causing the squits.

  33. Aron

    Easy solution:

    Eat vegetarians. That's what us carnivores do.

  34. Adam Williamson 1

    Wait, what?

    "A better plan, he argues, would be to encourage more efficient animal farming techniques as developed in the rich world."

    So, what, the Reg is championing battery farming to save the planet from the carbon emissions that aren't really a problem anyway (thanks, Orlowski)?

    Just color me confused.

    (A better reason not to eat meat, btw, is the extreme pressure livestock farming puts on land and water resources in marginal agricultural areas. Of course, the first thing to do in that direction might be to stop Dubai making fucking artificial islands for stupidly rich people to live on. There's plenty of blame to go around...)

  35. Dan Breen

    Maybe it's humans....

    That are the cause of all of this?

    And in order to be able to tell if this is the case I propose a simple experiment. If you are convinced absolutely that humans are the sole cause of climate change we need you to do the following test.

    Take a measurement of the CO2 levels in your immediate surroundings.

    Hold your breath continuously for 15 minutes, no sneaky breathing in the meantime.

    Take a second measurement of the CO2 in your immediate surroundings. If the CO2 has significantly dropped then you have a case. If it doesn't, then not.

    Just a thought...

    Maybe Politicians using the green adgenda to divert people from their own fuck ups could join you in this experiment?

  36. YumDogfood

    Specialized Tarmac owner

    The production costs of a bicycle itself are roughly _inversely_ proportional to the weight of the bicycle. There, corrected that for you.

    Bikes are not green, just greener than a car. Rubber, steel, oil, plastic, leather, drop forging, turning braising. Its just less of everything and the damn things tend to last longer as well being simple machines. The only 100% guaranteed green form of transport is to just go walk barefoot (see? I did not forget about shoes!).

    If cars drop from the picture as far as a moderately cheap and convenient form of transport then just watch the bastards in power try to tax and MOT the bikes (including Paris of course, she needs a good going over now and again).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Specialised Tarmac Owner

      Just FYI, the damge caused to roads by vehicles is propotional to the 4th power of wheel axle loading, i.e if the wheel axle loading ratio for two vehicles is 10:1, the damage ratio is 10,000:1. Just remember that the next time you are stuck behind some lumbering large truck . They are most certainly not paying 10,000 times what you pay to use the road. So not only are you stuck behind them, you are subsisdisiing their costs as well. Happy Motoring!

  37. J 3

    Can I have the TRUTH, please?

    I eat meat AND dairy everyday, and hate vegetables. But I don't buy this Prof.'s conclusions just because they are convenient to my beloved lifestyle.

    Can't we have really unbiased studies, PLEASE, to at least know as best as we can what is actually going on, in a fair way?

    It's either the ecowarriors preaching doom and gloom and that, whatever we do, we will undoubtedly destroy the world in a few decades, or the industry-shill, everything-is-well-forever-so-keep-consuming, scientist-are-all-corrupt (unless it's a scientist we like, of course, just see El Reg lately) pundits saying we can go on doing whatever we want regardless, because those hippies can't possibly be right and nothing I do can possibly be bad.

    I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between, and in different places for different issues. I just would like to know what the reality is! It does not mean I will turn vegan anyway, but I'm not one of those who need to justify my choices to feel less guilty.

    OK, so the UN numbers were "dodgy", for whatever reason. Maybe yes, maybe no. Now, has El Reg bothered to check who finances the Prof.'s work, or collaborates with him, for example? Of course not. And what does his just "three percent" of the GHG figure include in the calculations? Just animal farts? Everything but transportation? What? Without that simple info, that was happily supplied about the 2006 report to "debunk" the UN's numbers, it is hard to have an idea whether the Prof's numbers are not equally flawed. If I have to go read and analyze the original reports to get that balanced comparison, then why would I be wasting time reading "journalism"? I would just go directly to the primary sources every time. And no one has the time to do that for everything.

    I didn't dig deep at all, just a quick search because I don't have the time now (I thought this "investigating" thing was something journalists should do, but apparently they only do it when they don't like the target or the conclusions). But Frank Mitloehner’s Facebook page (the publicly visible part, and at least for now) says he's a "fan of" the California Beef Council. Hm... OK, another guy under suspicion. Specially since he advocates sending the "Western-style farming practices", you know, quite likely the ones the CBC recommends, to the poor countries. Does not mean he's wrong, but does not bode well.

    1. Freddie


      "Can't we have really unbiased studies, PLEASE, to at least know as best as we can what is actually going on, in a fair way?"

      Empirical evidence, in all politicised debates reported on by the media, suggests not. Sorry.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      Can't give you any evidence about meat v veg apart from the observation that us humans appear to have evolved to be capable of being omnivorous and culturally and historically have been observed to have very diverse diets.

      I am not even sure I believe in Global Warming.. However...

      Now I can give you something more tangible though, and this is food for thought.

      Wherever man has gone and set up shop, by and large we have managed to fuck up said place. (besides more native primitive folk and even that can be a subject for debate with those that practice slash and burn type farming).

      imho there are probably more humans than there should be on this planet, given our level of wisdom.. which I don't expect to change very much at all.

  38. David Edwards

    Close down farms

    Yes farming (that thing they used to do in the countryside) is NOT GREEN. Yep lets all live in cities and get our food flown in from somewhere else because we dont want UK farmers to contribute to climate change.

    We can tarmac over the farms and build affordable houses as we want to help the homeless people too. Now wheres my folding bike.

  39. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up

    Bad taste

    Your cow with the flaming flatulence was in extremely bad taste indeed.

    Good show, keep it up.

  40. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Don't eat meat

    Eat vegetarians.

    It's Sensible. It's sustainable. And with the right cooking it's delicious*

    After all they love the ickle wickle cuddly animals. I'm sure many would be happy to make the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs.

    *Although I have no personal experience of this.

  41. Alan Firminger


    I have to report.

    About eighteen months ago Newsnight had three environmentalists explaining how environmentally dreadful was meat eating. Paxman listened carefully and very naturally suggested "So we should all become vegetarians". In unison the planetary champions turned on him. No they said, not necessary at all.

  42. JeffyPooh

    If God hadn't intended us to eat beef...

    If God hadn't intended us to eat beef, He wouldn't have made it so damn yummy.

    A few days ago I had a 8.4-oz steak (yes, they measure to the tenth of an oz, probably Troy...) that cost $50. Just for the meat, but it included a free potato side. Nice.


    Whispered: "Concrete." This is the ultimate low hanging fruit. Capture the CO2 from the concrete plants. Point sources. Right beside rail tracks. Multiplied ratio, since lime gives off yet more CO2. It's the ultimate "duh!" Take "Concrete Steps for Climate Change".

  43. william henderson 1

    i wonder

    what would happen to the level of greenhouse gasses emitted by humans if we all went veggie?

    has that been factored in?

  44. Carrierbag Head


    So basically El Reg digs up a report from a scientist that states on his Facebook page that he's a "fan of" the California Beef Council. Hmmm, yeah, he certainly sounds independent (props to J 3 for that, btw). But we know the normally sensible Reg puts on it's tinfoil hat and screams "CONSPIRACY!!!" when it comes to carbon emissions and climate change, and doesn't mind a bit of tabloid style reporting when it suits this agenda.

    So the UN's figures are too low when it comes to emissions from transport, so you say the whole idea that reducing meat production to reduce carbon pollution is "debunked"? Don't think so, because any carbon pollution reduction is better than no carbon pollution reduction. Less meat still = less heat, so getting people in the wealthy west to sensibly reduce, but maybe not give up their consumption of meat is not a bad thing (it's ok for their health, too).

    The Daily Express would be proud of this article. I'm hoping for some Diana conspiracy theory stories from The Register soon.

    1. FreeTard

      if we didn't have canines.....

      ...then we would have a valid reason to not eat meat, this is something the vegetarians/vegans cannot argue against.

      Yet we do, canines have ONE purpose, tearing and slashing MEAT.

      Now vegetarians (my kid included), get over it. We're omnivores, not herbivores.

      Bloody environmentalists....

      1. Hydrosylator

        If We Don't Have Wings...

        ...then we have a valid reason not to fly.

        If you want to base all your decisions on the shape of your body alone, that is.

        As it stands, I don't think the problem is that we eat meat, it's how much meat we're eating.

        Meat has gone from being a luxury item to being part of almost every meal we eat, and there's no historical precedent for that which I'm aware of, certainly not for the general population.

        The industrialisation of meat production, and consumption, is neither time-honoured nor a natural state of being. It's making us fat, it's a disease risk and it's not 1/10th as energy efficient as plant farming.

        Also, our guts, being long and convoluted, and in discernible stages, are closer to cows than wolves. That's why too much meat makes us constipated, for example.

        If you're going to commit the natural fallacy, do it for the whole body, not just the teeth.

      2. bexley
        Thumb Down

        ...a title is unesscary...

        we developed canines by process of evolution because our ancestors ate meat. We did not just appear on earth with a body near perfect for chewing meat.

        The issue as far as i see it is not weather or not human's should or should not eat meat - It's that there are simply too many humans on earth for us all to sustain the amount of meat we currently eat. I have been travelling through central and south america for 3 months now and i can tell you that they really are cutting down jungle and forrest by visibly horrifying area's of volume in order to increase cattle grazing.

        Once these cattle are ripe they kill them, saw them up, freeze them and ship them to the rich folk so that they can be turned into burgers and contribute to obescity or be thrown away.

        The deforrestation that results in an increase of 'meat manufacturing' is significant.

        There is also a moral issue in that breeding sentiant life purely for food - ending it's life prematurely is not a particulary nice thing to do.

        There are too many humans in this world and not enough room to grow meat for food.

        This article is bollock's.

        P.s - Unitil i came to Central America i was a die hard meat eater, being poisoned time and time again and shitting and puking at the same time for about a month steered me towards veg based food. Not only am i able to pass solid poo, i feel full of energy, healthy andmy weight has dropped to the average, my beer belly has gone and i look great.

        I will still eat meat from time to time as i dont see anything wrong with that, but you dont need to eat meat in every meal, you dont need to eat meat every day, once a week is about right., Like our ancestors did when they used to have to hunt for food - back when the earth was in better shape.

        And yes, this guy's facebook 'fan' status does cast the article in an almost laughable light

  45. 007

    Bias scientist

    How can you consider Frank Mitloehner a neutral study or comparable to a UN report when he receive 5% of 5 Million (250000$) and maybe more from beef producers to do his research?

    Even his Facebook page shows he supports (or is supported by) the California Beef Council.

    Follow this link to see for yourself. (see last paragraph)

    1. Ed Deckard

      A scientist is biased

      if his work shows bias.

      Mine's the one with the Grammar Nazi insignia on the lapels.

  46. Alex Mucha

    Industrial Farming is the problem

    No mention made of the fact that Organic farming actually sequesters carbon - it's the Industrial monocultures and farming processes which make heavy use of fossil fuels throughout that are bad for the environment. Meat and animal products grown organically or near organically provide good healthy nutrition and help the environment.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Neither extreme makes any sense in this world. Plenty of flat space for crops in England, bugger-all here in Wales, which is why we have lots of sheep (mmmmm!) - any spare bit of hill will do for them. So if we go the whole veggie route we won't be able to grow much here.

    Badger, because I think you can go too far with animal farming and we are about to wipe out (sorry cull - just the first step) a load of badgers to see if it helps keep the cattle free from TB.

  48. scatter

    Something's not right

    He has a point that the UN report should have included transport infrastructure development, but that is small in comparison to direct transport emissions - sure it generates a lot of carbon to build a motorway but that pales into insignificance when you consider the amount of fuel burnt to propel vehicles down that motorway.

    But here's the kicker that suggests something's awry in this new analysis:

    "The prof says that in the United States, the true picture is that transportation accounts for 26 per cent of greenhouse emissions and cattle and pig farming just three per cent."

    Apparently (I can't find the actual paper), it only looks at the US. Well the US isn't tearing down primary jungle to create new farmland for animals. Land use change is the cause of the bulk of livestock production GHG emissions.

    This study stinks to high heaven though. Would *love* to know what the background to it is. The bit about spreading western farming technology might give a hint.

  49. scatter


    Thanks to 007 up there ^ for this gem:

    "Writing the synthesis was supported by a $26,000 research grant from the Beef Checkoff Program, which funds research and other activities, including promotion and consumer education, through fees on beef producers in the U.S."

    "The Beef Checkoff Program increases profit opportunities for producers by keeping beef top-of-mind with consumers and purveyors, and by working to ensure a wholesome, quality beef-eating experience every time. Efforts include:

    • Promoting high-quality U.S. beef in foreign countries.

    • Working to continue growth in beef demand.

    • Funding product-enhancement and beef-safety research programs to address safety and quality issues.

    • Investing an average of $4 million annually on beef-safety and product-technology research.

    • Delivering beef-enjoyment messages to consumers through a checkoff-funded national radio and print advertising campaign.

    • Identifying management practices through Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) to strengthen consumer confidence in beef as a wholesome, safe quality product.

    • Introducing new products into the marketplace. From 1996 to 2008, more than 2,500 new beef

    products addressing consumer preferences reached the market."

    Beef-enjoyment messages! Mmmm beefy goodness.

    Yeah that UN report has been thoroughly debunked.

    The Register sinks to a new low.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      What's the difference?

      Study paid for by group that wants my money... or study paid for by other group that wants my money? At least with the beef people I get something out of it. The others: they're just plain sinister.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    The Only Way To Be Sure...

    Is for all the eco-imperialists and their doom-friends in politics to end themselves and their personal carbon cycles. Then the rest of us can live without worry of a global meltdown. The results would be instantaneous, a large portion of the dead-weight in society will be gone, tied up funds would be immediately available for more worthwhile things, and developing countries would be able to develop for a change instead of being slapped around by these enviro-fascists.

  51. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    flame thrower bottomed cow pic


  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tansport to Slaughter

    One of the problems in the UK is that once we had lots of local abatoirs, but knee jerk reactions to the likes of CJD and Foot and Mouth have lead to legislation that has closed down many local abatoirs meaning that livestock and carcases have to be transported much further than once was the case. Likewise similar factors have lead to the closure of many local livestock markets.

    Supermarkets are told they should stock local produce and we are told we should by local produce all to reduce food miles. However when it comes to meat livestock from a far a couple of miles from the supermarket may have to go on a 100 mile round trip to be slaugtered. Therefore in terms of food miles it would be more environmentally friendly to eat meat from livestock that was farmed near the abatoir. It would however make much more sense, from an environmental point of view to reopen the smaller local abatoirs and meat markets and reduce the food miles required for meat to get to our plates.

    Of course that won't happen because it comes dangerously close to joined up thinking and we're never going to get that from our legislators.

  53. David Robinson 2

    Can one believe anyone?

    If you were to ask most people how big a proportion of the countries Co2 is produced by cars they would probably put the figure at around 20-25% as put about by the various politicians. They are careful not to say 25% of what but are give the impression that it is 25% of total Co2 production. They say when questioned that further breakdown of figures is not available. However, a few years back an independant firm was commissioned to break the figures down. The result was that cars produce a mere 0.5% of Britain's total Co2 production. The report was for the Friends of the Earth, I believe and naturally nothing further from it has been heard.

    Again, Co2 figures are taken by NASA on top of an extinct volcano, surrounded by active volcanos, in an increasingly active area (Hawaii). The Co2 trend line, while not fitting ( in spite of the fiddles) the earth temperature trend line does in fact mirror the increase in volcanic activity around Hawaii. Any surprises anyone?

    Oh and has anyone noticed that the latest report on atmospheric Co2 shows that it stays in the atmosphere weeks and months, not lots of years as claimed.


    1. scatter

      We can believe people who's jobs it is...

      ... to get the numbers right.

      What a load of conspiratorial bollocks.

      CO2 inventories are quite easy to calculate. It's very well known how energy flows through the economy because government is fond of taxing it and it's very easy to calculate CO2 emissions from that so no, it's not some massive conspiracy and cars don't generate 0.5% of UK CO2. They actually generate about 16% (all road transport generates 25%).

      You can see the energy flow chart here:

      And emissions inventory here:

      "volcanos..." Again, no:

      "Oh and has anyone noticed that the latest report on atmospheric Co2 shows that it stays in the atmosphere weeks and months, not lots of years as claimed."

      No I haven't. Please provide a link.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    How To Find the Posts I'll Like

    Some methane-emitting veggie has been going through all the posts and "thumbs downing" ones that make fun of the veggie lifestyle.

    How pathetic is that?

    At least I know which posts I'll like. I just scan down the list, and look for the ones with "One Thumb Down."

    Place Thumb Down Here --->

  55. A B 3

    Climate Change Nutters

    I want to hear(see) all the research possible, otherwise you are letting the nutters dictate eco policy. Carbon trading is a joke compared investment in renewable energy.

  56. little_redshoes

    It's not a matter of cars vs. cows

    If you really care about the environment, you should reduce both your consumption of cows and cars. It's something that most people can do both of.

    And regarding starving people... it takes pounds of edible grains to create ounces of edible meat. Think about it, if you were starving, wouldn't you prefer pounds of healthy plant protein (such as soybeans) over a few ounces of steak?

  57. Peter Dawe

    Cucumber the real villian

    When looking at CO2 emissions one also has to look at the value of the "food"

    Cucumbers are an eco-disaster. They are grown using heated greenhouses, transported miles in cooled lorries for ABSOLUTELY NO nutritional value!

    Even broccolli comes out no better than meat, in the land-use/energy use stakes. when looking at calories, and there is a lot of protein in meat!

    Ban Salads I say

    The New Noah

  58. Dave 142


    There's a lot of misinformation here on vegetarians emitting more methane. Generally a high fibre diet will lead to less gas due to regular bowel movements. Trust me, once I went to Hungary for a week and ate little but meat and the gas was unbearable.

  59. gef05


    "Eating less meat is "as obvious as recycling or hybrid cars"

    And that's why climate change is a crock. Believers continue to insist that hybrids are green. Spin and nonsense.

  60. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Eat Greens.

    I think that's a consensus.

    Or is it a concensus, I never feel sure which.

    I'm pretty sure it's consensus and I've just thought of a way to fix it: think of concensual. Then think of consensual. Which of them sounds the more fun?

  61. -tim

    Like veggies are the answer

    Find a bit of land that has been growing veggies (for human consumption) at anywhere near a commercial level for 200 years and compare that to land that has been growing beef for the same amount of time. I don't know any centuries old areas other than orchards that are still producing nutritious food. Even the California iceberg lettuce growing areas are showing a lack of the merger nutrients compared to just a few decades ago.

  62. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    The green sub-text. People have to die on a large scale.

    There is a reason Earth supports a more people than it has historically.

    Its called organised farming for profit.

    I think the poster proposing to tarmac over the UK and import *all* food had his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    A lot of the green agenda has a sub text that the Earth cannot support this level of population (despite the fact that it is) and ultimately the population has to be reduced. By a lot. Note that in the UK the average birth rate is already *below* maintenance levels (neglecting immigration).

    With the exception of various nomadic tribes in rain forests and desserts Earth is *not* a hunter/gatherer society. Monoculture is energy intensive and other options exist to improve its efficiency.

    Having said this the US fondness for beef consumption has a very significant effect on farming practice in Central and South America. Cows may (or may not be) the problem, but the knock on effect of encouraging land clearance (especially in the Amazon) *is* significant.

    I like animals. I like people *more*.

  63. Futumsh

    @ Nerdo: Utter Bollocks

    A few reasons why meat eating is no more harmful to the environment

    Myth 1: 10kg of grain = 1kg of beef.

    On the face of it this appears correct as you can produce more calories from vegetables than from meat on arable land. The key here is the words 'arable land' - there is significant land area which is not suitable for crops but which is suitable for grazing livestock

    Myth 2: Methane production from livestock is contributing to greenhouse gasses

    While livestock do produce methane it pays to bear in mind that the carbon from which this methane is formed comes from grass and other feeds, not fossil fuels. As such is part of the natural carbon cycle. Secondly, techniques such as mob grazing result in MORE carbon being fixed by grasses in their root systems than is emitted in methane. Centuries ago, tens of millions of bovines roamed the grasslands of North America and Africa - our climate didn't collapse then.

    Myth 3: Switching to a vegetarian diet will save the planet

    If more people switched to vegetarianism then we would be able to support a larger population. Ironically this is the biggest problem of all. Overwhelmingly it is PEOPLE that damage the environment. The surest way of managing environmental damage is to reduce the world's human population. By increasing food supplies you are only increasing the global population.

This topic is closed for new posts.