Eliminating beef production will not solve climate change

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By Colin Woodall

On February 7, dozens of reporters and television cameramen dutifully lined up on the lawn of the United States Capitol to listen to a 29-year-old freshman of the United States House discuss the introduction of a new non-binding resolution.

An announcement made by such a junior member of the House rarely gets so much attention from the cynical DC press. But the freshman was the media darling, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the non-binding resolution was the much-publicized (so-called) “Green New Deal”.

Now, if you’ve heard of the introduction of the Green New Deal, it probably had something to do with “farting cows”. Fortunately, this colorful term does not actually appear in the legislative language of the resolution.

Instead, it was included in a talking points document which (briefly) appeared on Congressman Ocasio-Cortez’s website. The authors of the document lamented the fact that while they believed they could, over the next 10 years, renovate every building in America, build a “smart” national grid, and get rid of nearly all of America’s fuel-burning cars. fossils, they “” are not sure that we will be able to completely get rid of the cows and planes that fart so quickly … “

The point is, MP Ocasio-Cortez apparently doesn’t know one end of one cow on the other. Getting rid of “farting cows” shows a level of ignorance that we have not seen in Congress until now. This mistaken belief stems from the militant notion that the elimination of cattle and beef production in the United States will have a major impact on the global climate.

This idea, of course, is patently ridiculous. Direct emissions from cattle in America account for about 2% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in any given year. And of course, American cattle producers have already made huge strides in sustainability efforts: Compared to 1977, the United States today produces the same amount of beef with 33 percent fewer cattle.

While we remain 100% committed to improving our sustainability and continuing to act as responsible stewards of our earth and our planet, the fact is that the people who sound the alarm bells on climate change are not. are not being honest when they say getting rid of beef production in the United States will have a significant impact on global temperatures.

The deployment of the Green New Deal shows a complete lack of detail on how to achieve the proposed emissions targets. The part of the Green New Deal resolution that deals with agriculture only says that the federal government should “work with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the United States. agricultural sector as far as technologically possible… ”

But how do they propose – exactly – to achieve this? As always in Washington, the devil is in the details, and we’ve noticed that the people who tell us to “do more” on climate change are generally extremely rare on the details.

So we at the NCBA have decided to respond by posting a few questions that all citizens, journalists and agricultural producers will ask of those who urge us all to do more politically on climate change.

You can read them all here, but in summary they are:

  1. What specific policy changes are you proposing?
  2. How much would the policy changes you are proposing cost?
  3. Who will pay these costs and how?
  4. How would the policy changes you are proposing impact global temperatures in the future?
  5. And, by the way, please show your calculations on all of your calculations above.

After thinking about these questions, it’s easy to see that the Green New Deal and other groundless political calls for a vegan meatless utopia are just that – groundless.

Woodall is the NCBA’s Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, in the Washington, DC office.


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