"Global warming is real – it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world." -Lomborg
Obama’s former Chief Economist, Michael Greenstone at U. Chicago studies the social cost of carbon. He modeled the cost of carbon at around $2,000 per ton. That means a gallon of gas “costs” society $20.
Which is a multiple of the current price of a gallon (~$4) today. This isn’t a 10% or 20% tax on gas, this is a nuts and bolts rebuilding of society.
I’m excited to be a part of it. I can understand how some would find that unwinnable or overwhelming. But to me the climate is the largest business opportunity civilization has ever seen.
If civilization is going to survive it's because we collectively recognize the destructive nature of markets based around profits and start doing things for the sake of life.
Huh I guess we aren't post-religion society after all.
If you want to combat capitalism and big corporate you directly hit it where it hurts, in their profits. Adding rules and regulations and outright bans just induces regulatory capture and ends up strengthening big corporations. A carbon tax is the most effective means for combating climate change because it's so straightforward and because it provides direct pressure on capitalism's precious markets.
Maybe increasing gas prices will favor electric cars, maybe we'll see a resurgence in hydrogen or other alternative fuel sources, idk. What I do know is that polluting will be less attractive and we'll see innovations.
And going to the point of the article. $20/pound hamburger would have very similar results. ($20 number completely made up)
Isn't that about where we are? That's $10 for half and $5 for a 'quarter-pounder'?
> ($20 number completely made up)
Oh. What's the point of / how can you meaningfully discuss the 'results' of a made-up number?
I nominate this for "Most telling HN comment of 2019".
And who would get all that extra tax revenue? I assume the US Government, but does anyone have any belief that the US Government would actually put that money towards carbon offsets?
This is a model of the real social cost of carbon. Which means someone will pay it, maybe not you or me though, and maybe not right now. And that cost may go up.
The proposals that seem to be taken most seriously are for a "revenue neutral" tax. The money collected is distributed back to the public, with each person receiving an equal share.
Most of the time I can drive around my family's property and find many trees that have already fallen and are down without having to even cut mature trees. It's just the extra work that goes into it rather than calling up the gas company for a refill. I am lucky and my great grandpa/family has been passing the farm/land down through the generations and now it's a 'family' farm with about 1500 acres, and about 2/3 of that is forest with trails.
Worst case scenario I contract out some kids/young adults in the area to cut/haul/stack my wood if I am short on time and unable to get enough for the winter myself.
Lots of Maple trees in Upper Michigan :D
Do you have a source for this? He cited much lower estimates in his Congressional testimony: https://epic.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Greenstone%20S...
True, it might only be global catastrophe that will take generations to recover from.
No it doesn't.
> He didn't disprove the claim that vegetarianism will help lower carbon emissions,
I don't know if I'd say he disproves it, but he does present evidence that vegetarianism isn't a significant intervention.
> doesn't provide any real information for people looking to lower their carbon emissions.
Yes, he does.
> He also doesn't disclose he's the author of books that specifically claim that global warming isn't happening.
Nor is he obligated to. You didn't disclose in your post what your opinion is on vegetarianism, did you? This is just an ad-hominem attack, and a hypocritical one at that.
So basically, you made 4 statements. Two were flat wrong, one was an ad-hominem attack, and one was ambiguous. I downvoted.
I'm not a vegetarian, but seeing the other ecological effects of requiring 5x agricultural land and fertiliser to get the same calories as not good is reasonable.
This is clearly propaganda.
1. Food makes up only 20% of an average person's greenhouse emissions, and probably less if you're living a jetsetting Silicon Valley lifestyle of air-conditioned spaces and lengthy commutes.
2. The original calculation assumes you'll go 100% vegan, not just vegetarian, which for most people is a step too far.
Even excluding the third argument, Lomborg notes that you're looking at a 4.3% reduction at best.
I for one drive an EV that’s charged by solar panels at my place of work, and my energy is sourced from a mix of hydro / solar / and wind.
This is probably true for a significant portion of people in the Valley. Certainly more so than say people in Midwest US and Canada.
Shows Iowa as 14th on emissions per capita and California is 6th from the bottom. So what are you trying to prove?
Aside: Iowa Farm Bureau is an insurance company that pretends to be the voice of farmers and “grass roots org”, it is also big a lobbying spender. Which makes me doubt both your intent and sources.
The fact is, Iowa produces more energy by wind that many other states, including California. Is that in dispute? Citation please.
That was in dispute. California gets a tiny fraction of its power from wind, the total state less than Iowa produces (where did you get the 'dwarfed' notion?) while the Midwest gets up to 50%. In Iowa another large fraction is from the Palo nuclear plant. So, very little coal etc.
Please fact check your claims next time.
California produces 28000 MW of renewables total which is way more than Iowa. California Coal power mix was about 3%, and lower in my community
It's unseemly to keep changing the subject to one that you can 'win'.
The headline suggests meat production is not a significant emission source, but it actually argues that it has around the same emissions of the average bought goods of a particular society. Then saying it therefore does not matter is quite the stretch.
Right, but one of the biggest annoyances I have with right-wing blogs like Reason is that 95% of their content is just reactionary "Actually, liberals aren't quite right about X" crap while offering no alternatives/solutions. At least "stop eating meat" is something with a net positive.
Besides changing your diet there are hundreds of other net positive (yet virtually inconsequenial) steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Wash laundry with cold water
- Hang your laundry on a clothes line to dry
- Not manage and maintain a grass lawn
- Get healthy enough to get off/reduce perscription meds
- Drive a hybrid or an EV
- Have no/fewer offspring
- Don't have pets
- Don't work out or exercise (you'll expend more energy, eat more and breathe more co2)
- Don't drink alcohol (wine, beer, spirits)
- Don't eat chocolate (if meat is somehow uneccessary, certainly chocolate, wine, palm oil and tons of other nutritionally high GHG foods)
- Don't play or support activities which waste land, e.g., golf, football, soccer, graveyards, etc.
Basically - if the choice isn't "nothing OR stop eating meat" + "nothing OR switch to more fuel efficient cars" but instead "nothing OR stop eating meat OR switch to more fuel efficient cars", then encouraging "stop eating meat" and not an actually significant change is suboptimal.
There are basically only two things that are going to slow/stop the rise in CO2 emissions: shift to low/no-carbon sources of energy, including natural gas and nuclear, and retool transportation networks to favour electric wherever possible. Obviously planes will be running on kerosene for the foreseeable future, but cars, trucks, and ships could all be electric within a quarter century.
Eating less/no meat is a perfectly acceptable ethical choice, but it should be divorced form serious discussion of the root causes of carbon emissions.
That being said, none of this is a good argument for not giving up meat.
I see the idea of marginal cost is getting through. But consider all the costs to get a real sense of how the origination marginal cost contributes.
And don't dismiss transportation. It has to get home from the grocery store, in that 10-burger one-person vehicular trip through city traffic. That's a marginal cost too.
Here's some data I just Googled:
Car trips: 0.34 metric tonnes of CO2 / 1000 miles
Burgers: 0.5 metric tonnes / year of burgers (150)
I'm done here.
> requiring 5x agricultural land and fertiliser
can certainly not be paraphrased as:
> marginally more expensive, ecologically
Because its one cost in a whole column of costs, reducing that entry is what makes it 'marginal'. Meaning, one part of a large total.
Reminds me of the GMO / non-GMO debate. The longer we keep that simple frame the slower we go. GMO isn’t any one thing, GMO is the future of most living things and things we haven’t imagined.
This is our first climate, our first planet. We will be a part of many others, as living intelligence and more.
Where does the rest of fertilizer come from? It is synthesized from fossil fuels...
What is the methodology used to reach this result?
Sustainable diets, in particular vegetarianism, are often promoted as effective measures to reduce our environmental
footprint. Yet, fewconclusions take full-scale behavioral changes into consideration. This can be achieved
by calculating the indirect environmental rebound effect related to the re-spending of expenditure saved during
the initial behavioral shift. This study aims to quantify the potential energy use and greenhouse gas emission savings,
and most likely rebound effects, related to an average Swedish consumer's shift to vegetarianism. Using
household budget survey data, it estimates Engel curves of 117 consumption goods, derives marginal expenditure
shares, and links these values to environmental intensity indicators. Results indicate that switching to vegetarianism
could save consumers 16% of the energy use and 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions related to their
dietary consumption. However, if they re-spend the saved income according to their current preferences, they
would forego 96% of potential energy savings and 49% of greenhouse gas emission savings. These rebound effects
are even higher for lower-income consumers who tend to re-spend on more environmentally intensive goods.
Yet, the adverse effect could be tempered by purchasing organic goods or re-spending the money on services.
In order to reduce the environmental impact of consumption, it could thus be recommended to not only focus
on dietary shifts, but rather on the full range of consumer expenditure.
I'd argue that eating vegetarian isn't really that much cheaper in the first place.
In the paper, there's also section 188.8.131.52 about organic food consumption:
If a vegetarian diet is chosen for its
environmental value, it is possible that consumers will simultaneously
choose organic instead of conventional products for their perceived improved
impact on the environment. Organic products however are often
associated with a price premium, which can fundamentally change the
conclusions on re-spending and environmental impacts occurred.
and a few paragraphs later:
"Therefore, not only would we
avoid any rebound behavior, we find virtuous cycle effects in
that consumers will save 111% of both the potential energy and
the potential greenhouse gas emission savings thatwere predicted
from only foregoing meat alone."
So, if you go vegetarian, go organic while you're at it!
PS: The paper isn't so bad, you should probably read it in full (you know where). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.04.030
The point is that a lot of people have to do a combination of things.
The article states that:
> First, he points out that calculations, for the most part, ignore 80 percent of greenhouse emissions that we each contribute to the atmosphere from transportation, heating, lighting, and manufacturing.
So cut those as well. I may have missed something, but I didn't see anywhere above that said what those "ignorant" calculations concluded.
> becoming a vegetarian would cut the average person's greenhouse emissions by about 2 percent.
It then goes on to compare this to spending $3 per year on cap-and-trade allowances.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Offset are not XOR.
The conclusion is that you can cut your footprint by 4% by going vegetarian AND spending $3 per year on cap-and-trade allowances.
Dismissing something that may improve things to some degree but not completely is an old trick to stop inconvenient discussions and do nothing. Happens all the time. Drugs in the US costing too much compared to the rest of the world? Sure but look at how much the insurers make therefore stop asking why pharmaceutical companies charge that much. Reduce carbon emissions at home? would help but the real problem is China therefore let’s not do anything.
Eating less meat is not the solution to everything but it would be a benefit in multiple ways. Less animal suffering, less emissions and better health.
Recognize truth, like the statement quoted, and move on to helping promote real solutions. That would be a significant act.
I have cut down a lot on my meat consumption for a number of reasons and feel better overall from a health standpoint, the environmental benefits are a bonus. That's enough for me.
I am here to serve, to create, to explore. If I can do that with minimal harm to other beings, great. If you choose to make fun of me for that, good for you. I don't take anything personally anymore.
All of that goes out of the window because some guy decided to "do some number crunching". Well, what qualifies him to speak on these matters, where are his results?
Where they published in a peer-reviewed journal, does he have any idea what he is talking about? Did he take into account the consequences of the deforestation needed to produce meat, animal methane emissions?
What this guy is saying is in complete contradiction to mainstream scientific magazines and the UN.
Why should we listen to this guy just because he is telling us us what we want to hear?
And then some guy from Twitter comes along and says "No it's not" and people run with it just because that's what they want to hear.
This article is trying really hard to avoid one of the problems, which the author seems to have a personal interest in.
This is based on swedish pricing. But meat is extremely cheap in America, where we also consume more meat than most other nations, and replacing it with vegetarian protein would probably cost me more money.
In any case, if I'm committed to changing my diet for the climate, I'll probably try to be conscientious in my other consumption habits, right?
All this paper really concludes is that reducing meat is very effective but that there are lots of other things that need to also be done.
Also what about if we replanted the animal farms with oxygen producing trees, etc?
If people really think this is a solution, they can try to legislate it away. That won't work either because people will turn to the black market as they currently do for drugs and as they have in the past for meat and other foods when they weren't easily available (in some eastern bloc countries in the 80's for example).
This path is a dead end. Environmentalists would better serve their goals by looking towards things that are actually achievable rather than going down paths of impossibility. That is, if they actually want to enact change. A lot of environmentalists just want to be seen as trying to do something when their actions have no actual benefit.
What Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Prize for the Green Revolution, said applies here: "The green revolution has won a temporary success in man's war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only."
Efficiency is tactical. Reduction is strategic.
I spoke about this at more length in my podcast episode 183: Reusing and recycling are tactical. Reducing is strategic: https://shows.pippa.io/leadership-and-the-environment/episod....
The techno-optimist in me isn't worried about the environmental impact of cattle in the long run. I think plant-based & lab grown meat is going to take off in a decade once it can be engineered to taste better than natural meat. Once this happens, the lower price will cause people to shift away from real cows unless they want to pay a premium for organic, non-GMO meat.
Brazil isn't raising livestock for the US or North America. Not even 1% of their livestock products are imported to the US.
Livestock are part of an integrated agriculture system. Livestock and agriculture depend on one another. Cattle and ruminants, for example, convert low quality wild scrub, fescue and leftover agricultural byprods into high quality human-edible meat and nutrients.
About 50% of the corn in the US is grown not for humans or animal feed, but to produce ethanol fuel. The residual of that ethanol process is then processed into feed for livestock.
Quite a bit of the Amazon region is used to grow soybeans. The soybeans are shipped to Asian countries where they make soybean oil out of it for cooking. The residual soy byproducts from that process is then turned into feed which goes to pigs and chickens in that region.
Also mentioned in an earlier reply that about 50% of all fertilizer needed for crop cultivation comes from animal manure and byproducts. The remainder (and alternative approach) is to synthesize the fertilizer from fossil fuels.
It's important to realize that livestock aren't simply a standalone component in the food system. They are a key part of the total agriculture picture.
Food also isn't simply calories, it's about nutrition-- getting absorbable animal-format vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other key nutrients. There are quite a few nutrients which are essential to the human body and yet are very difficult (some virtually impossible) to obtain from plant-only sources. So reducing meat does come with costs/risks in terms of nutrition, I think that shouldn't be overlooked.
Not that much. Most soy in Brasil come from the Cerrado region, a Savanah-like biome roughly the size of german and france, more or less south of the amazon rain forest. Second to that, the region of the states of mato-grosso, sao paulo and parana.
Soy is not much of a driver for amazon deforestation. The main problems there are illegal loggers, illegal cattle ranching and gold mining.
Brazil to pass U.S. as world's largest soy producer in 2018
02-Jul-2019 USDA sees record soybean harvest for Brazil
Brazilian Soybean Production By State
you're planning to take a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas with your family of 4 this Christmas.
but you recently watched Patriot act episode on cruises and were shocked that a typical cruise generates equivalent of 1 million cars worth of greenhouse gas per day.
so you reached out to the cruise company and asks them what they can do to mitigate this appalling disregard of the environment.
the cruise company informs you that there's now a vegetarian or vegan premium meal plan that would cut down your green house consumption by about 10%.
you loved the idea and happily pays extra for the vegetarian meal plan, knowing that you're now doing good for the environment and thus saving the planet.
So I'm inclined to call BS.
I think together there might just be some degree of bias, when it comes to this issue.
But in any case, the real issue is not just about greenhouse emissions, and in particular not just about economics (typically, economic projections are linear, whereas reality is full of collapses and blossomings).
It's also about land-use, biodiversity, the health of the entire ecosystem, etc. We should not be clearing ancient tropical rainforest to raise beef.
IMO limiting meat consumption is a good idea, and not only on a global warming standpoint.
However, I would say that a critique of the mass media communication on veganism is interesting.
Is the effort proportional to the effect ? Are there not more efficient ways to fight climate change ?
A writing that brings arguments - and data - against the hype is always interesting and refreshing to me.
In 2000’s it was «go vegan» publication, today its «anti-vegan».
To conclude, I’d say that every effort is counting to fight global warming, and the article is not against that idea.