Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, November 29th, 2018 - 23 comments
Categories: capitalism, energy, Environment, farming, farming, food, global warming, International, making shit up, Media, science, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, useless - Tags: AGW, denialism, Media, reality
The Guardian is reporting on a study by the InterAcademy Partnership that has found the global food system is “broken”. According to The Guradian’s reporting, the study is recommending a complete transformation in the way we produce food and in the food we consume. So far, so good, and nothing that many people weren’t already aware of. The press release is here, and the full report can be downloaded here.
The global food system is responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all emissions from transport, heating, lighting and air conditioning combined.
From that, people might be forgiven for thinking that if only we changed our diets and how we obtained food, then emissions would drop by around 30%. And by the same measure, people might be forgiven for thinking that all the driving and flying and wasting of energy by industry and citizens isn’t such a big deal when stacked against the emissions from food production.
But the Guardian’s Environment Editor is engaging in some seriously dangerous “glossing over” of reality.
In terms of emissions, the global food system includes transport and heating and lighting and cooling. So I have no idea how Damian Carrington can seriously suggest setting aside the energy inputs required by the food system, just in order to get to a point that implies that by eating vegan burgers instead of a meat burgers we will somehow make a serious impact on the total emissions that are causing global warming (2 trillion tonnes and counting btw).
Almost all human generated emissions come by way of deriving energy from fossil. And eating a vegan burger may well entail more emissions being produced than would be the case with some other burgers. It depends on the energy required to sustain and process and transport whatever ingredients that go into the vegan burger as opposed to the other burger. That’s not me being anti-vegan or pro-meat. (Hell, I was a vegan for quite a number of years back in the 80s and a vegetarian for some years after).
My point is that if we are going to be serious about global warming then we can’t swan around spouting the type of bullshit the Guardian’s Environment Editor is spouting. Eat vegan food or vegetarian food or whatever. It’s not a bad thing to do. But eat the stuff with eyes wide open and not with a side-helping of virtuous “silver bullet” sauce.
The bottom line is that energy derived from fossil must be eradicated from all of our ways of living and all of our industrial and agricultural processes. Eating vegan or vegetarian food doesn’t do that. Removing fossil on the other hand, will push the necessary adaptations in the global food system and elsewhere.
Promoting “consumer choice” as a solution to AGW is an excuse for systemic inaction. Don’t buy it.