David Sirota’s latest beef: Eating meat causes climate change

David Sirota’s latest beef: Eating meat causes climate change

BurgerThe good news is that Salon columnist David Sirota has moved on from his self-hating attacks on “white Americans.” The bad news is that the topic he has moved on to is just as silly. It is how changing our eating habits (read: consuming fewer animals) will stop climate change.

The words “stop climate change” come from the title of the piece and may not be Sirota’s. But they still provide a glimpse of how grandiose are the ambitions of those on the left are and how omnipotent they view themselves.

“Stopping” climate change is about as feasible as stopping the ocean tides. But as a representative of the “party of science,” Sirota is just getting warmed up.

After berating his fellow fourth-estaters for failing to cover reports that carbon dioxide levels are at a new and dangerous high and firing off zingers at both climate change deniers and those too weary to fight, he presents his own good news:

The fastest way to reduce climate change shouldn’t seem impossible, because it requires no massive new investments, technological breakthroughs or long-term infrastructure projects. According to data compiled by former World Bank advisers Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, it just requires us all to eat fewer animal products.

How Sirota thinks this is news is hard to understand. The link between cow flatulence and greenhouse gas emissions is so old-hat that the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to persuade Congress in 2007 to pass a “flatulence tax,” charging farmers $175 for each dairy cow and $87.50 per head of beef cattle.

Even harder to understand is how people like Sirota think it is any of their business telling the rest of us what type of “sacrifice” we each need to make to satisfy their twin convictions that (a) there is a climate problem and (b) that humans can intervene in any meaningful way in the event one exists.

Despite the certainty of people on the left, including the president, that they have a handle on the problem and that the “debate is over,” not all scientists share their views. One who doesn’t is Elgie Holstein, the senior director for strategic planning at the Environmental Defense Fund and a former assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who said of global warming:

This is a highly complex calculation to make in the first place. The short period of time, only 10 years in which the increasing temperature has leveled, really doesn’t tell us very much other than the fact that temperatures may still be rising but just not as fast as they were before.

And Marco Morano of ClimateDepot.com, a website devoted to countering the notion that global warming is man-made, writes:

The idea that CO2 is the tail that wags the dog is no longer scientifically tenable…. In the peer-reviewed literature we’re finding hundreds of factors influence global temperature, everything from ocean cycles to the tilt of the earth’s axis to water vapor, methane, cloud feedback, volcanic dust, all of these factors are coming together. They’re now realizing it wasn’t the simple story we’ve been told of your SUV is creating a dangerously warm planet.

Looking at the problem from a different angle, if the question of climate change were the slam dunk Sirota would have readers believe it is, then why would there be — in his words — a segment of the population “who acknowledge the crisis but nonetheless look away from what feels like an unsolvable mess”?

Give Sirota some credit for at least not making the dumbest argument to date for eschewing burgers. That dubious distinction belongs to First Lady Michelle Obama, who said in 2010 that obesity (which results from eating fatty foods like hamburger) is a national security threat.

In the meantime, the talk about burgers is making my hungry. I think I’ll go have a double cheeseburger with fried onions.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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