It’s been a big couple of days for trashing the beef and dairy industries. Those of you who have followed this blog over the last couple of months have heard me say several times that cows are insanely bad for the environment and are a chief contributor to climate change (global warming). Just to keep things real, I had another conversation with my 82 year old dyed in the wool, Wall Street Journal reading, staunch Republican father and it seems that Charles & David Koch and their ilk have worked miracles. Their campaign of disinformation about climate change has him convinced it’s some sort of complex hoax and no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway him. He sounds a lot like Senator Ted Cruise in this video. Of course, he then dismisses things like this video, with the actual scientist who runs the satellites and interprets the data explaining why Mr. Cruz is so completely off base. The main point is that a lot of people are still in denial about the whole climate change thing, but it seems that more and more are waking up to the reality that it really is a thing. I like to post the latest CO2 readings from time to time to remind everyone that it’s still on the rise. Recall that we don’t have any readings above 300 ppm prior to this cycle in the history of the planet. Last weeks number was 405.82. We just topped 400 in January… So this weeks news continues to put pressure on the climate change nay sayers. An article with the rather dense title “Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change” attempts to look at the economic impact of dietary choices. The authors conclude:
The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of allgreenhouse gas emissions while unhealthy diets and high bodyweight are among the greatest contributors to prematuremortality. Our study provides a comparative analysis of thehealth and climate change benefits of global dietary changesfor all major world regions. We project that health and climatechange benefits will both be greater the lower the fraction ofanimal-sourced foods in our diets. Three quarters of all benefitsoccur in developing countries although the per capita impactsof dietary change would be greatest in developed countries.The monetized value of health improvements could be com-parable with, and possibly larger than, the environmentalbenefits of the avoided damages from climate change.