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Treating Global Warming Denialism Like a Sex Scandal


#1

Treating Global Warming Denialism Like a Sex Scandal

Dean Baker

The Washington Post ran a column last week that blamed the baby boom generation for global warming. Even for the Post this was extraordinarily low. This is not an issue of defending my generation; it is a question of how bad policy persists. And the answer puts the blame far more on media outlets like the Washington Post than people born in the two decades after World War II.


#2

Divide and conquer. Et tu, WaPo?


#3

Fossil fuel hacks? Yes, but don't forget that the fossil fuel industry merely meets the demand for electricity. Try looking at the industries that create the demand. The meat industry, for example. How many of the CD commenters who express outrage over governmental and media inaction are willing to reduce their personal demand for meat?


#5

https://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/4/12/1377002/-California-Water-Wars-being-won-by-meat-dairy-use-47-of-all-water


#7

The media that the American people are depending on for their news, interpretation of the news and politics is the oligarchs who have the power behind the power of MIC and banksters who determine what we know.

You know that Dean Baker, right wing conspiracy is now what the Clinton's are part of along with the Democratic Party oligarchs who work in tandem with the power structure. These people have gained so much power since Reagan that the murders of the 60's I.e. Kennedy's and Martin Luther King are an example of what could happen to anyone who might try or become close to having power to break their ring of control and corruption.

What would you do if your family was threatened with death? Read up on what happened in Chile in 1972 and who was involved but you will have to go deeper than media here in US of A. Try Naomi Klein's books Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism. Of course, preaching to choir here.


#8

It surprised me that people on CD haven't discussed the media's role in blanking out on global warming. Looking at how the discussion was hijacked off topic says something about how easily it can be accomplished. The Topic was the media but it became vegetarianism. I wish people would stop trying to make every discussion about climate change about vegetarianism instead because they are helping the right prevent debate on many important issues.

No one says not eating meat wouldn't help but the topic was climate change and the media and how that allows the politicians to avoid talking about it.

Just by how few responses to Baker's piece shows how people on CD are turning away from the same actors' constant focus on vegetarianism. These people are hurting everyone by this continual selfishness and detouring discussions.


#10

The meat industry is the primary driver of climate change. Therefore, your argument that the meat industry should not be discussed when climate change is discussed is nonsense. You are trying your best to censor anyone who states that vegetarianism is an important part of the solution to the problem of climate change. The media does ignore the meat industry by focusing so much attention on the fossil fuel industry, which merely meets the demand of the meat and other industries. My comment was directly on point and your argument that it was not is nonsense. You accuse us vegetarians of being selfish. It is not selfish to point out that the meat industry is the number one cause of climate change. We are trying to serve humanity by pointing out how mass propaganda ignores the truth. Apparently, you are not very interested in the truth. You are more interested in denigrating other commenters. You do not own this site.


#11

Much of your general take is accurate. "Demand destruction" is key, and is NEVER mentioned in corporate media, which is tied to the fact that the people who own and operate the media also own and operate the rest of the extractive, colonizing, fossil-fueled, war economy. Climate chaos is hugely important, but also serves to elude the fact that the industrial assault against the Earth is multi-faceted, "full spectrum," and will not be "solved" by simply stopping GHG production.

Industrial meat is a major contributor to anthropogenic GHG production. But here's my take on the 51% claim, clipped and edited from a previous post:


Here's a link to the original magazine article that is the source of the 51% claim in the documentary Cowspiracy. It is NOT based in research or "science." It is a couple of guys doing back-of-the envelope math. i encourage everyone to read the article to verify what i just wrote.

One example of the way they get to their ridiculous conclusion (that meat causes 51% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere) is by counting the carbon in the air the animals breathe. They justify this by stating that if you don't account for the carbon in the air the animals breathe, then you are not accounting for the carbon released by the deforestation to clear land (for pasture, or for growing industrial commodity feed crops like GMO corn and soy). But they account for the carbon released by deforestation, and then also count the total CO2 in cow breath EVERY YEAR, multiplying their accounting of the carbon released by deforestation.

The cow breath example is one note i made when reading their magazine article for the first time. There are other such details in the math they run to reach their 51% absurdity. i encourage everyone to read the original article (the "scientific" basis for the 51% claim repeated in the documentary Cowspiracy). It's not "research" and it's not "science," it's these two guys reworking math to multiply and exaggerate the carbon gas impact of meat.

The carbon gas impact of industrial meat is huge, likely in the range of 25% to 33% of anthropogenic GHG (Michael Pollan estimates it at 30%, based on his reading of various assessments). Privileged "consumers" should reduce their personal carbon footprint by eliminating most or all meat from their diets. More importantly, agriculture and land-use policies, programs, investments and subsidies should be entirely reworked, to stop rewarding the horrific abuse of land, ecology, people, and the animals themselves, and instead promote agriculture and land use that work in sync with the natural living systems of the Earth.

Promoting exaggerated data does not help make that case.


#12

If you have an iPhone, try this to post links: Touch the Add Bookmark icon on when you find an article that you would like to post. Then touch Save on the Add Bookmark page. Next, highlight the saved bookmark and touch Copy. Then go back to CD or other forum where the post is to appear, touch the Comment box and touch Paste.


#13

Apparently YOU are not genuinely interested in the truth, but only in clinging to a single-sourced and very plainly exaggerated claim that "the meat industry is the number one cause of climate change." It's not true, but you love to say it so much, you CANNOT ALLOW YOURSELF to consider any critique of that claim.

You also do not own this site.


#14

Here's another response i provided a few weeks back on the practice of accounting for GHG emissions:


In financial accounting, there are Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that have been developed and codified over several centuries of financial accounting, since double-entry bookkeeping was invented in Medici Florence.

In ecological accounting, there do not yet exist any such Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Partly because it is a much newer professional discipline than financial accounting, but also because it is inherently far more complex, since financial accounting accounts for one single thing, the flows of money and monetary value between and among different financial entities, while ecological accounting attempts to account for the total flows of all materials encompassing all significant ecological processes.

Carbon accounting is one slice of the larger field of ecological accounting, but even reducing the scope to simply account for all the flows of carbon among and between entities is far more complex than financial accounting. For one thing, one of the entities in ecological accounting is the ecology itself, for which there is no analog in financial accounting.

So it's not at this point possible to come to a consensus conclusion that one specific percentage claim is correct and another is false, since different practitioners will use different accounting systems to derive their figures. For example if one looks at "the transport sector" that obviously includes transport that is part of the meat industry. Into which account does one place that carbon: Meat? or Transport? Such details are hugely significant. One of the ways the authors of the 51% article reach their conclusion, is by corralling all CO2 emissions that could possibly be associated with the meat industry, and putting them all in the "meat" column. But this approach, applied to all sectors and entities, leaves much carbon being accounted in multiple columns. Unless and until one comprehends the ways in which different assessors are placing different carbon in different accounts, one can't even begin to make clear sense of the numbers being bandied about.

All that said, it is pretty clear from reading a number of different sources, that the share that reasonably gets booked to the "meat" account, is somewhere between the low 9% figure generated by the US EPA, or the 14% global figure published by the UN FAO, and the high 51% reached by the two guys who authored the article. When Michael Pollan suggests something closer to a 30% figure, based on his own reading of various claims, that's probably closer to the truth. When GRAIN and La Via Campesina run their own assessment of how to account for carbon emissions, and publish their estimate of a range between 44% and 57% produced by the entire industrial agriculture sector (including industrial meat), i think they are also more accurate than the single back-of-the-envelope 51% figure for meat alone that @zenpractice keeps insisting is the only "sound science" on the matter.


#15

The EPA and the IPCC as well as other scientific bodies say that all agriculture including the raising of meat animals account for 20% of climate change emissions. Just because you don't want to deal with that fact but prefer some entertainment documentary's unverified statistics is no cause for your accusing someone with an opposing view to yours as censoring. Why is it that if anyone disagrees with pseudo science claims whether chemtrails or cow methane etc they are accused of censoring?

Even simple logic should make you wary of the claims about the meat industry. A single coal fired plant produces 3.5 million tons of carbon each year for about 60 years +. That is not even accounting for gasoline and diesel used in transportation world wide. Fossil fuels are simply far and away the primary generators of carbon added to the environment.

On a biological level the meat industry is far more carbon neutral that you suppose. All biological based systems are. You take in carbon to grow the plants and produce the meat. The amount of carbon released is part of that intake and output cycle whereas fossil fuels is ADDING new carbon from sources outside the environment. I tried to remind you that the subject of the article was the media and climate change but you went totally off topic and now you don't want to hear any criticism of it. The problem is that you keep on doing that over and over and apparently militant vegetarians assist you in detouring discussions off topic. It is a form of censorship btw since you are disrupting other discussions and it is against community guidelines about going off topic which ethically should constrain you but apparently it does not.

Once again look at your statistics and consider how selfish and rather bizarre given the corporate world's efforts to restrict discussions of climate change, that scientists say all agriculture accounts for 20% of climate change emissions whereas you claim it is far far higher. It is not a couple of guys but the EPA and the IPCC as well as many other scientific peer reviewed research.


#16

I agree that the breath data invites the ridicule of those determined to continue eating meat despite the fact that it harms the earth. You have cherry-picked the weakest part of the argument while ignoring the strong points such as the effects of cattle-related deforestation. The weak part of your argument is that you claim the 51% calculation was arrived at by two incompetent men. However, the Worldwatch Institute published their findings and stands behind their findings. I suspect the two men you ridicule are more competent than you and me on this issue. Your ridicule/potshot does not advance the cause of letting the public know what the primary cause of climate change is. Your ridicule is designed to advance the cause of the Big Green organizations who focus attention on fossil fuel industries while ignoring the fact that those industries merely fill a demand. It is hypocritical to ridicule important knowledge concerning the primary source of the problem while posing as a progressive or an environmentalist.


#17

The Worldwatch Institute indeed published their assertions (no scientist would call them "findings").

Please provide a link showing that the Worldwatch Institute "stands behind" the 51% claim in that article.


#18

Also i do NOT "ridicule" or call these writers "incompetent." Those are your words.

All i do is DIRECTLY CALL INTO QUESTION their conclusion.


#20

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#22

You obviously don't give a damn about the environment or animal welfare. I would never enter into a bargain with a demon like you.