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Oh No: It Turns Out Lab-Grown Meat Causes Global Warming Too

Wesley J. Smith

global warming

Global warming alarmists insist that we must drastically reduce or eliminate the eating of meat because, well, food-animal flatulence is destroying the planet, don’t you know.

But getting billions of people to stop eating beef isn’t very realistic, so some have put their hopes in lab-grown steaks made from stem cells. Oh no! That could be worse! From the BBC story:

“Per tonne emitted, methane has a much larger warming impact than carbon dioxide. However, it only remains in the atmosphere for about 12 years, whereas carbon dioxide persists and accumulates for millennia,” said co-author Prof Raymond Pierrehumbert.

“This means methane’s impact on long-term warming is not cumulative and is impacted greatly if emissions increase or decrease over time.”

The scientists’ climate model found that in some circumstance and over the very long term, the manufacture of lab meat can result in more warming. This is because the emissions from the lab are related to the production of energy which is almost entirely made up of carbon dioxide, which persists in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

Hand-wringing. Everywhere you look, there is hand-wringing.

At least manufacturing meat will improve water pollution, right? Not necessarily:

Yes, the authors say that a number of other factors should be considered including water pollution that cultured meat may avoid. But other experts say that isn’t so clear cut.

“Artificial meat may result in the presence of organic or chemical molecule residues in water, because the process would need to produce huge amounts of chemical and organic molecules, such as hormones, growth factors, to add to the culture medium to grow the meat” said Prof Jean-Francois Hocquette, at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, who wasn’t involved with the study.

Good grief. Do you ever get the feeling that important sectors of society spend most of their time chasing their own tails? The bottom line as I see it: If you don’t like this study, wait a few months and another will be published offering different conclusions.

The intellectual effort expended in this investigation was a waste of time and energy. The cultured meat industry will grow or fail because of consumer satisfaction issues such as taste, texture, safety, and price, not due to terror about global warming.

Photo: A “hamburger” prepared from artificial “meat,” by World Economic Forum [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



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