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The War on Meat–Matt Ridley

August 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Matt Ridley followed up the “war on meat” story in last Sunday’s Telegraph (unfortunately pay-walled).

If you have a Telegraph subscription, it is well worth a read, but the opening extract gives a flavour:



The BBC, misreporting a United Nations report, wants us to switch to a mostly plant-based diet in order to alter the weather. Would it work? No. A recent “meta-analysis” of all the peer-reviewed papers on this topic found that if the average westerner gave up meat altogether it would cut her total emissions by just 4.3 per cent. This is because food is only a modest part of our emissions. And since vegetables are cheap, the savings would almost certainly be spent on other things with emissions attached, so the actual reduction would be even smaller than that. The effect on the climate would be unmeasurable.

“Eating carrots instead of steak means you effectively cut your emissions by about two per cent,” says the environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg. “As a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I will be the first to say that there are many good reasons to eat less meat. Sadly, making a huge difference to the climate isn’t one of them.”

Although the BBC seems oddly obsessed with the topic of meat – given how little difference it would make – at least it does not intend to force us to become vegetarians, let alone vegans. Or does it? Last November the former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, mused: “How about restaurants in 10-15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated? If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.” The climate is just the latest feeble excuse for the nannies who love to lecture us about our diet. In an all too familiar progression, what starts out as a suggestion then becomes ostracism and ends in state coercion. All based on a false premise.

  1. Kenneth Farrar permalink
    August 17, 2019 11:22 am


    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  2. HotScot permalink
    August 17, 2019 11:25 am

    The Telegraph article will be made available on Matt’s blog in a while.

    Well worth subscribing as Matt is an eminently practical bloke.

  3. August 17, 2019 12:14 pm

    One good thing about stupid is that it eventually dies.
    One bad thing about evil is that it never dies and never stops until it is stopped. The UN is an evil organisation that must be destroyed and when enough of us realise this, it will be.

    • Bertie permalink
      August 17, 2019 11:09 pm

      Not just the UN. All the organisations (NASA for instance) and individuals responsible for the promulgation of totally false and unscientific data. If it was just done in ignorance the twisting of facts could be reversed. However, as it is an insidious politically-driven scam I am not sure what it will take to reverse the tide.

  4. JimW permalink
    August 17, 2019 12:16 pm

    The aim is to make people more docile, reduced energy levels etc. Return to feudal times.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    August 17, 2019 12:25 pm

    “Eating carrots instead of steak means ….”

    A carrot contains:


    • alexei permalink
      August 17, 2019 9:17 pm

      Not if its organically grown.

      • tom0mason permalink
        August 18, 2019 5:43 pm

        And your evidence for this assertion is?

    • August 17, 2019 9:27 pm

      What’s in a burger? Red meat it is known, especially if charred, can lead to cancer. Not to mention the chems and growth hormones and antibiotics. They say it takes six days for a hamburger to pass through the body. “Epidemiological studies appear to have established a firm relationship between colon cancers in particular, and the presence of these amines in people who regularly eat meat cooked according to the conditions used in these experiments.” If you are serious about continuing to eat meat, just watch a few small videos: such as Meet Your Meat. You I think have to be completely heartless not to understand the grave living and killing conditions for these animals. 13 minutes. I say to people, only eat what you are prepared to nurture and kill yourself.

      • August 17, 2019 10:10 pm


      • Bertie permalink
        August 17, 2019 11:11 pm

        Oh, I have. Many times. When my fresh-faced young lambs achieved slaughter weight they became delicious meals.

      • August 18, 2019 12:07 pm

        I have noticed a propensity in those who lean significantly to the left to major in misery. For whatever reason, they are miserable people. And for that reason, nothing enjoyed by others can be left unattacked. In some perverse way, they think if those enjoying things can be made to join their misery, somehow they will feel better about themselves. I have also recognized that, not only will they leave you alone, but they demand that you listen to them. Further, you must agree with them. They simply will not leave you alone. BTW, I have also noticed that those so concerned with animals are equally adamant that we should have as many abortions of human babies as possible. Hmmmm

      • NeilC permalink
        August 18, 2019 4:08 pm

        If you understood a bit about genetics, you would understand if you don’t eat meat you will be lacking in quite a few essential genes. There are life time consequences to not ingesting them. Unless you take replacement suppliments, but do you know which ones you would be lacking?

        Humans have evolved to be omnivores.

      • tom0mason permalink
        August 18, 2019 5:46 pm

        Eat meat and say yes.
        ‘Say no and protest’ is all you have, you bring no evidence just another unthinking believer, eh?

    • Up2snuff permalink
      August 19, 2019 12:17 pm

      JoePublic, I think you omitted one of the biggest ingredients in a carrot – monosaccharides.

      Now they get the communists, fascists, health police and nazis really worked up and screaming for a ban. How come you missed that one?

  6. Ian Cook permalink
    August 17, 2019 1:01 pm

    Again, the National Grid spokesman said, immediately after the blackouts, that the gas station was an automatic shutdown as it was not required. The problem was Hornsea – full stop. Why did it go off-line, the only question. Well, it’s not the only question. The big one is of course, why do we rely on such an unreliable, unstable source of energy suppy. It’s the sort of thing you do when you don’t have an option.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 17, 2019 8:52 pm

      I don’t think anyone from National Grid claimed that: the story seems to have been propagated because a Bloomberg journalist decided to contact RWE PR in Germany, who didn’t find the right contacts in the UK to know what was really happening.. It wasn’t true anyway. The station had been operating at close to full capacity most of the day, only dropping to about half capacity gently overnight for about 6 hours. Its trip out was sudden and total. There was no planned reduction in progress. That wasn’t due to occur until after 11 p.m.

      I find it faintly ridiculous that there has been a campaign of reasons why Hornsea didn’t trip – no cyber attack from Russia, no problem from the wind being too strong, etc. All designed to wind up the conspiracy theorists into assuming the converse, or at least deflecting form the real problems and their causes. It turns out they didn’t have their offshore substations properly set up – though the detail remains unpublished. And it turns out that National Grid had insufficient inertia from conventional power stations to prevent the frequency falling to the point where blackouts are triggered., nor did they have adequate spinning reserve that they could call on to make good the losses. Whether or to what extent these failings were because they were pursuing records for wind generation will I hope be something that some of the inquiries do look into.

  7. rah permalink
    August 17, 2019 1:03 pm

    What more evidence would a person need to understand that the left wants to control every aspect of an individuals life? According to the current theory of human evolution, the ability of of Hominids to obtain and ingest meat and thus greatly boost the intake of proteins is what drove the spike in brain growth. All the earliest tools found had the purpose of obtaining food in one form or another and the earliest cutting tools of stone and obsidian were for gaining access to meat!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 17, 2019 1:10 pm

      Well of course they want everyone to be vegan, Reducing brain size and the public might fall for the Left’s ideas.
      Alternately there is a risk those starved will switch to cannibalism, but then again the Left may still appear unappetising.

  8. August 17, 2019 1:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  9. August 17, 2019 8:56 pm

    There are other reasons to be veggie or vegan. The meat industry is CRUEL and heartless, in general. Ever been to an abattoir? Know what is in your veal sandwich? Watched the milk industry in action, the cheese industry, all of them killed while basically babies, and not nice. Really ugly stuff. As to whether the reductions in methane could be useful, and stopping the forests of the world being altered into pastures for beef, that’s another question, but it begs an answer, too.

    • alexei permalink
      August 17, 2019 9:49 pm

      kodaisl – Totally agree. Whenever someone’s pleasure is threatened, you can be sure all kinds of arguments will emerge to resist admitting there might be any validity to the point. One of the biggest hypocrisies of our society is our fawning over domestic pets and/or baby animals generally, and at the next step salivating at the prospect of a succulent dish of lamb or veal, whilst never questioning the contradictory rationale of these attitudes.
      In addition, there is no evidence whatsoever that vegetarians generally have less energy or fewer brains but it’s probably comforting for meat-eaters to convince themselves of this.

      The sudden emphasis by the warmist brigade on disparaging meat-eating might be linked to recent articles on methane producing more GHGs than C02 and their perceived need to add this to the list of condemned products or activities. It seems to be more about finding more areas to control and tax, which Germany has already seized on.

    • August 17, 2019 10:09 pm


    • Bertie permalink
      August 17, 2019 11:19 pm

      There are NO good reasons to be vegetarian. It denies an essential form of protein for the human body. It is a recorded and personally-attested fact that the extreme (in both an actual and etymological sense) of veganism causes reduced growth in children and reduction of alertness in adults.

    • rah permalink
      August 18, 2019 3:59 am

      Used to do a lot of hunting. Small game like rabbits and squirrels, quail, duck, pheasant, and geese. Also some White Tail deer. Ate em all and loved them. But I’m pretty sure that shooting an animal, even if a person eats it, is “cruel” in your book. I just wish busy bodies and the government would just leave law abiding citizens alone!

  10. M E permalink
    August 17, 2019 10:20 pm

    There is a very good book about the effect of grains and legumes on the brain. Grain Brain by David Perlmutter. However we should also take note of FODMAPs research.

    It is illogical to impose your own dietary preferences on others,perhaps. But Grains have the effect of making thought processes foggy and when that happens the individuals rely on slogans instead of logic.

    • Bertie permalink
      August 17, 2019 11:20 pm

      Well put.

  11. M E permalink
    August 17, 2019 11:16 pm In NewZealand cruel practices in the slaughter houses are illegal. Other meat trading nations will also be highly regulated .Imports from any nation which allows cruel practices would be blocked in New Zealand by Government regulation.

  12. August 21, 2019 4:28 am

    In this week’s Now Scientist a reader asks the following question, “From an environmental perspective, is it better to eat imported foods like tofu, quinoa and sweet potato, or beef from a farm a few kilometres up the road?”

    First-up to respond was the famous scientist from Grauniad Laboratories in Oxford UK – Mr George Nonbiot himself! He asserts: “This question is easy to resolve. In a paper in Nature last year, a team led by Timothy Searchinger of Princeton University [is that enough authority for you?] examined the impact of various foodstuffs in terms of carbon. This shows that protein beef is 73 times worse than protein from soya. [Was the research sponsored by Monsanto I wonder?]”

    73 times worse? – I ask you! The needle is bending itself around the end-stop of my BS detector! He goes on (for 3 more paragraphs – which regrettably, I feel compelled to reproduce here):

    “A kilogram of beef protein has the equivalent carbon emissions of a passenger flying from London to New York and back.” [I make that 1kg beef more than 40 gallons of Jet A1. But George supplies own G-I-Y arithmetic . . . ] “The overall carbon cost of 1 kilogram of beef protein is equivalent to 1250kg of CO2. Aircraft emissions for long-haul flights are roughly 110 grams per passenger per kilometre, and the return distance is 11,170km – so 1229 kg of CO2.” [That’s 1.2 tonnes George! Are you sure about this?]

    “In discussing the carbon costs of food, we have greatly exaggerated the role of transport and greatly downplayed the impacts of land use. With the exception of food that is flown, transport tends constitute a small proportion of total carbon cost. The crucial environmental task is minimising the area used by farming. Beef is a highly inefficient use of land. Soya grown in prime sites, is a very efficient use of land – though not without its own major problems.”

    “It is also worth noting that there might be more soya in your steak than in your slab of tofu, as the great majority of the world’s soya is grown for animal feed, and conversion efficiencies (especially when producing beef) ensure that you ned to pump far more protein into an animal than you get out. [Is grass ‘protein’?] So even if you want to eat less soya, you should eat soya.”

    Here endeth the lesson. (Brought to you today by Monsanto.)

    • August 21, 2019 4:31 am

      Small correction: Last sentence of 1sp paragraph should have read, “This shows that protein from beef is 73 times worse than protein from soya.”

    • August 21, 2019 5:32 am

      By this logic, ploughing a field with a tractor is orders of magnitude more ‘green’ than ploughing it with a pair of oxen. Who new?

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