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Climate

First They Came For The Cars, Now They Want The Cows


Climate has become a religion for the global left. Yet unlike most organized religions that are genuinely committed to helping our fellow man, today’s climate movement figuratively burns heretics at the stake and demands communal sacrifices that serve no purpose but to immiserate humanity.

Consider the calls at the United Nations’s COP28 climate confab this month in Dubai to reduce meat consumption. [emphasis, links added]

Banishing fossil fuels and gasoline-powered cars isn’t enough to achieve the climate lobby’s net-zero promised land. Now people must give up their rib-eye steaks and pepperoni pizza.

This crusade to stamp out meat is gaining force. A U.N. report last year held that about seven gigatons of CO2 reductions—about as much emissions generated from global natural gas combustion—would have to come from people eating less meat.

Livestock production accounts for about 11% to 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 32% of the world’s methane, which is 28 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

Pound for pound of protein, beef production generates nearly 18 times as much greenhouse gas—and pork, four times as much—as tofu. Blame cow burps and manure.

Methane is the natural byproduct of cow digestion. Each cow emits as much carbon in a year as a gasoline-powered car. Unlike cars, however, cows can’t be engineered to become more “fuel efficient.”

While scientists experiment with feeding cows seaweed to reduce their flatulence, changing a cow’s diet could impair the nutritional quality and taste of its meat and milk. Seaweed also has a high level of a compound that damages the ozone layer.

All of which is why the U.N. report proposed taxing foods based on their carbon emissions with the goal of making meat so expensive that people will have no choice but to go vegan.

This is what New Zealand’s Labour government sought to do before the party lost its governing majority in October’s elections amid a revolt by dairy farmers.

Under the Labour plan, farmers would have been taxed based on the size of their land, the amount of livestock they own, their overall production, and their use of nitrogen fertilizer.

The Netherlands, the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products after the U.S., plans to pay livestock farmers to shut down to bring the country into compliance with European Union emissions regulations.

More than 750 Dutch farmers have reportedly signed up for this buyout scheme. Naturally, the result will be reduced meat supply and higher prices.

The same anti-bovines are at work in America. California requires dairy and livestock operations statewide to reduce methane emissions to 40% below 2013 levels by 2030.

Sacramento plans to achieve this target with costly regulations that drive farmers out of business. Consider the state’s mandates that more space be given to farm animals under the guise of improving animal welfare.

The real purpose of these regulations is to increase the cost of livestock production and thus reduce farmers’ output.

California’s farming rules will have a national effect because they apply to any livestock raised in the U.S. and then sold in the state.

Thousands of pork producers nationwide warn they may be forced to shut down because of the high cost of compliance.

Congressional members from 21 farm states this summer introduced legislation to block California from regulating farmers outside its borders—much to the consternation of green groups.

California and the federal government also provide regulatory credits for dairy farms to capture methane from manure. These credits are literal cash cows, worth nearly $2,000 a head.

An April 2022 presentation at the California Air Resources Board titled “What’s Worth More: A Cow’s Milk or Its Poop?” mused that these subsidies might become so rich that farmers may begin to “farm methane rather than milk.”

The climate lobby knows that restricting people’s consumption of meat and dairy products would be unpopular, if not unconstitutional, in most countries.

Instead, they urge that governments use regulation, taxes, and subsidies to reduce the supply and increase the cost of meat, as they are doing with fossil fuels.

Elites convening at COP28 will still be able to eat $100 prime rib, but the masses will have no choice but to sacrifice their sirloin.

The world’s poor will have to continue subsisting on nonnutritious gruel, just as they will have to do without cars, air conditioning, and refrigerators to achieve the global left’s net zero nirvana.

But make no mistake: The climate religion’s ultimate goal isn’t to reduce carbon emissions or stop global warming. It is to force people to give up material joys and live as ascetics.

Today’s climate clergy are like the wanton, well-dressed friar in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” ostensibly begging for the poor while living sumptuously. They want to have their meat and eat it too.

Read more at WSJ

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