Squinched up and about to barf: The face of climate purity

There’s been an uptick in the apocalytic rhetoric about climate change. The United Nations just released a report saying we had just 12 years to cut emissions in half or else suffer “catastrophe.” People should be duly terrified to act right now, of course.

And one thing we’re told we really must do is … stop eating meat. Meat’s bad for the climate, you see. The report urges “a radical change in diet as eating meat makes more CO2 than vegetables.”

I suspect a major reason for the report is that the U.S. is leading the world in cutting emissions — even though we pulled out of the Paris accords and the Obama Clean Power Plan. We’re making world environmental overlords look silly, doing what they can’t, and … achieving it by market forces, not government dictates.

But 12 years? C’mon. I don’t know why they keep making the Future Climate Cataclysm so soon as to be falsifiable in a few years. No doubt they count on people’s short memories and desire to project climate virtue to help them get past the seemingly existential difficulty about being flat wrong. Paul Ehrlich is still highly regarded, after all.

I suspect, however, that signaling climate virtue is a thing people will do only when it doesn’t really cost them anything. It doesn’t cost anything to talk about the Need to Do Something About Climate or to utter any other such phrases. It’s free to furrow your brow and look concerned.

But don’t think for one second people are actually going to stop eating meat, or stand for a government that forces that result.

A taste of a future ruled by environmentalists

Bloomberg News decided to take the UN report seriously enough to have a Michelin-starred chef taste protein shakes, which are what all human beings would have to do in order to follow the UN’s prescription for “saving the planet” while still, you know, living (human beings need protein).

As the headline puts it, it didn’t go well.

The chef, Richard Corrigan, offers some suggestions to make your meat replacements less nonpalatable (mixing them with yogurt or with fruit purées, for example, or “not removing the cap in the first place”).

His conclusion, I thought, was quite incisive:

The whole thing about being human is the social interaction. It’s the sitting, it’s the sharing, it’s cracking open a bottle wine. So unfortunately, I’ll never be a part of it [the protein shake life]. But for those who are, there are a couple of options. Lots of seasonal fruit, lots of yogurt, … once a year.”

Yes, eating together makes us human and convivial and improves society, one table at a time. We can’t let the zealots take that away.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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