cow grazing mountain Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images

Ban the Beef?

For many environmental campaigners, eating meat is fast becoming as repellant as smoking – behavior to be discouraged or even banned. But is your hamburger really to blame for climate change, and would going vegetarian really help?

COPENHAGEN – Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations official responsible for the 2015 Paris climate agreement, has a startling vision for restaurants of the future: anyone who wants a steak should be banished. “How about restaurants in 10-15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated?” Figueres suggested during a recent conference. “If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.”

In case you have missed this development: eating meat is fast becoming as repellant as smoking to many green campaigners. It is behavior to be discouraged or even banned.

That’s because your hamburger is being blamed for climate change. Meat production – especially raising cattle – emits methane and requires carbon-dioxide-intensive inputs. In the breathless language of recent reporting, a “huge reduction in meat-eating is essential” to avoid “climate breakdown.”

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