In recent days, a handful of politicians and media commentators have said that President Joe Biden plans to limit meat consumption as part of his climate change plan. That is is not true. In fact, neither Biden nor the White House has indicated that curbing meat consumption or altering the diet of Americans in any way is part of the plan.
But that hasn’t stopped some critics of Biden from fanning the flames over the perceived threat.
On Friday, Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump’s former economic adviser, said the climate plan would go as far as to make Americans drink “plant-based beer” (also know as …beer). Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, called Biden “The Hamburglar” on a Sunday. cheep, weather Texas Governor Greg Abbott shared false information from Fox News stating that the plan will “eliminate 90% of red meat” from the American diet and limit everyone to “one hamburger per month.”
These baseless statements sparked heated comments over the past week about meat consumption, plant-based alternatives, and climate change. Here’s everything you need to know about the hype and debate over plant-based meat substitutes.
How did the rumor start?
A. report by The Washington Post this Monday traces false claims that Biden cut meat intake to “a Daily Mail article that he speculated unsubstantiated about measures that could achieve Biden’s goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. ”
That article quotes a 2020 University of Michigan Study on the impact that reducing meat consumption can have on greenhouse gas emissions. The study mentions a scenario in which Americans eat 4 pounds of red meat a year, which The Daily Mail falsely linked to Biden’s climate plan by publishing an infographic that says those measures are “what will be required to meet the Joe’s Green Goals “.
How was disinformation spread?
Then Fox News took that bogus data and shared it on the air in a graphic called “Up In Your Grill: Biden’s Weather Requirements.” The graph repeats unsubstantiated claims about the president’s plan that limits people to 4 pounds of meat a year, they are allowed one hamburger a month, and they have to eliminate 90% of red meat from their diets.
Sharing a screenshot of the graph, Governor Abbott wrote: “It’s not going to happen in Texas!”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
What does this have to do with plant-based meat?
The controversy, though rooted in falsehoods, has nonetheless fueled debate over plant-based “meat” and its role in possibly reducing climate change. Studies have suggested that swapping traditional meat for plant-based alternatives could have significant benefits for the environment. A. 2018 article by Hanna Tuomisto from the University of Helsinki He found a potentially large reduction in greenhouse gases with meat alternatives, compared to raising cows and sheep for consumption.
Impossible Foods, the maker of popular lab-made meat alternatives Impossible Burger and Impossible Pork, has said that creating plant-based meats has a “much smaller environmental footprint than animal meat” and that a fraction is needed. of land and water this type of fake products.
The companies also say their lab-grown products could help people more easily curb their consumption of red meat. To 2020 Gallup poll of people who cut down on meat It found that most were doing so for health reasons, followed by concerns about the environment, food safety, and finally, animal welfare.
But comments like Kudlow’s reflect a perceived threat among some that replacing traditional meats with plant-based ones will destroy American values and traditions.
“Get this: America has to stop eating meat, stop eating poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy and animal fats,” Kudlow said on his Fox Business show last week. “Okay, you understand? No burgers on July 4th. No steaks on the Barbie. I’m sure Central America is going to love that. Can you roast those Brussels sprouts?”
That response reflects a national divide, often politically driven, over what plant-based alternatives represent. Some see it as another food option (perhaps more sustainable), while others see it as a cultural threat that runs counter to American ideals. A Monday Vox report notes that when Senator Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, I ate at a vegan burger restaurant During the 2020 campaign, opponent David Perdue responded with tweeting a picture of himself next to plates of bacon, with the caption: “@ ossoff you can have the veggie burger, we’ll have the star special. Pick your side, Georgia.”
If Biden’s climate policies do not address meat consumption, what make are they headed?
Up to this point, Biden’s climate policies include reducing emissions between 50% and 52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The White House has also said it hopes to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 through measures such as financing low-emission buses and expansion of access to electric vehicle charging stations. President American employment plan includes funding to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations in the US by 2030, and calls for point-of-sale rebates when purchasing a new electric vehicle.