Arithmetic and Climate Science

Consider this simple arithmetic: The International Livestock Research Institute reports that 45% of the land area of the planet is used for livestock production. We also know that the top 20% of consumers are eating most of the livestock products (overall, the top 20% are responsible for 83% of all consumption). The main reason is the ethic embodied in the 99c hamburger at McDonalds, which is made possible thanks to massive US taxpayer subsidies for beef production.

Now, imagine that India adopts similar agricultural policies and makes possible a 10 rupee hamburger that McDonalds can proliferate and market in every village. Then all the land on the planet would need to go towards livestock production, causing mass extinction. 

RIP, Life on Earth, now, not 50 or 100 years from now!

This is why when climate scientists continue to consume animals, while talking about catastrophic weather events in the coming decades if we don't make policy changes, I personally find it difficult to take them seriously. There is no point in their arguing that future techno-fixes like Fake Meat might enable them to continue their dietary habits, because other people and real animals, birds and trees are literally dying to feed these habits today. A Florida-sized area of tropical forests is being destroyed every two years mainly for that purpose, which is a terrible price to pay for 99c hamburgers.

By continuing that destruction of the forests, we are simply eating ourselves to extinction. Given that, I find it difficult to focus on what the weather will be like 50-100 years from now.