Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where's the Beef?

Don't worry about that SUV you drive. Worry about that steak. Beef has now been identified as a prime cause of Global Warming according to a New Scientist report. "2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, New Scientist magazine reported."

The problem I have with this chain of reasoning is that animal digestive systems also work in the wild. The herds of wildebeest, the trumpeting groups of elephant, why even the magnificent herds of bison, which covered grasslands to the horizon, were if returned are from a certain point of view nothing but climate criminals on the hoof. But since wildlife has a higher utility value to environmentalists than a barnyard animal, they are unlikely to call for a massive cull of the animals in the Serengeti. So obviously some animals must live while others must not be so allowed. (Including homo sapiens, if the Optimum Population Trust is to be believed) Logically then, we should be able to calculate some allowable level of sustainable farting consistent with a Global Warming Model and cut back animal life; and therefore their methane emissions to the desired level. If, after having gotten rid of all the livestock (are cattle drovers in Africa included in this proscription, I wonder?) there is still too much methane being released, then it stands to reason that we should hand out the hunting licenses to keep the farting down.

But wait? How do we optimize the level of methane. What is our objective function? Gaia doesn't tell us. So we will have experts make it up and then we fiddle with the variables to attain the theoretical optimum -- based on whatever theory we choose to adopt. And then we find that environmentalism becomes functionally indistinguishable from Soviet Central Planning, except that its targets apply to the birds and the bees. Oh, and to us too.


Blogger Pierre said...

The ultimate solution that most of the wackiest of the wacky call for is the elimination of the Human...except for them.

7/19/2007 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

"allowable level of sustainable farting".

I would love to see that in the NYT.

Off topic, in the area where I live there are a large number of hippies, many draft dodgers from the 60's. One way to stretch the meager budget is to purchase 50lb bags of dried beans. Lasts most of the winter.

I wonder how that fits with the idea of 'sustainable farting'.


7/19/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Just don't eat Idaho lentils, and summer sausage, if you don't like gas chambers.

7/19/2007 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

My response to all of the hand wringing over cow-farting (a nice win-win for PETA vegans and AGW types) is this:

Before the US was tamed.. weren;t the Great Plains teeming with millions of farting bison??

So what is the net change?

7/19/2007 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


I think the simple answer to "what has changed" is that the former vast herds of animals were wild, or at least "lived in harmony" with the indigenous populations, while cattle and beef are products of and for guilty white men.

The earth is mute. But environmentalists give it tongue -- though, if the truth be told, it's their tongue -- and we must all bow down and listen to them. If the politics and hokey religion were taken out of environmentalism it would collapse into boring biology, zoology and geology. We don't want to know about rocks. We want to know what the rocks say. The world needs to know what Gaia wants and preferably hear the announcement at rock concerts.

Other than that, nothing has changed.

7/20/2007 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger weswinger said...

This article is another reminder that leftism in all its myriad forms is, at its core, a death cult.

7/20/2007 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

The Earth don't care. At all. It just goes about it's business shifting and adapting...evolving, if you will.

The enviro-twits violently promote their doltism in order to take our money for their SUVs, hybrids and latest latent genocidal urge.

7/20/2007 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Newscaper: I lived in Oklahoma for a few years. The place has lots of trees. When the White Man came there, there were not any trees to speak of, at least on the plains. The buffalo trampled and ate the trees before they were even saplings.

Back circa 1990 it was announced that a brillant analyst had figured out a key aspect of Global Warming. "There would not be a problem is everyone would simply stop breathing for at least a half an hour." It is hard to argue with that analysis, even without seeing the data.

Indeed, if the human race all stopped breathing for at least half an hour, it would solve evry "problem" that I am aware of.

7/20/2007 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said... my rare to medium rare

7/20/2007 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Just as with central command economies, the global warming crowd thinks man is smart enough to know exactly what's going on that's bad and how to fix it, even when it's essentially unpredictable and uncontrollable. The enviroweenies are just as bad, and, luckily, even more incompetent than Stalin or Mao.

7/20/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger James Grenning said...

I think I might need to by some fart credits.

7/20/2007 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

One difference between beef cattle and bison etc. is that a good share of the poundage of a beef animal results from feed derived from intense agriculture. Feed derived from intense agriculture for beef production consumes much fossil fuel while the animals in the wild do not.

7/20/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

about command economies...
of course a lot of the same people who criticize the Iraq war for not being handled flawlessly (as if by magic), are the same fools who think that economic central planning can really work, in spite of the history of the 20th century, if just the right guys, their guys, can take a crack at it.

point taken about production costs of feed, but doesn't that mean a lot less land is needed, land that is quit elikely growing trees and brush instead of just grass? Aside from that, the sensational articles about cow belches and farts NEVER talk about tradeoffs at all -- its simply onesided (against us).

7/20/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger mdmhvonpa said...

James: Fart credits ... I see a HUGE market for that. Tie it in with Carbon Credits and we'll all be rich.

7/20/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger gdude said...

Indeed, the ridiculous article that was posted on Yahoo News within the last week that outlined how terrible the effects of global warming were going to be in the next 93 years was almost stultifying in its lack of simple logic. On the one hand, hundreds of thousands more people each year were going to die from heat waves, coastal flooding, etc. In the next breath, as if further proof of the ill-effects of global warming, the world population was projected to rise by several BILLIONS. If global warming were the menace being portrayed, wouldn't we want to see actual DECLINES in the world's population due to those factors, not simply more people dying from the effects of ... there being a LOT more of them around to die?


7/20/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Speaking of Vegans and PETA, I wondered in a recent post what they'd have to say about why many people in Baghdad are reported to longer be eating fish coming from the Tigris.

Neither Fish Nor Flesh

7/20/2007 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger JakeGint said...

I don't see the problem. Just start mixing the Beano into the Purina Cattle Chow, and we're good.

7/21/2007 11:11:00 PM  

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