Beef Industry Using "Alternative Math" To Explain How It's Not Destroying The Planet

When you get more creative about interpreting your data, you can prove just about anything.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is rolling out a new campaign claiming it "may not be contributing much at all to global warming" and HAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh man, that's a good one. I'm almost tempted to give the Association points for trying, but considering that these factual shenanigans surrounding climate change have the potential to wreak so much havoc I don't even know where to start, Big Beef can take its "alternative facts" and shove them straight up its personal methane factory. (That means butt.)

Science has indisputably established the link between cattle farming and climate change. The raising of livestock is directly responsible for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial age, and 65% of that comes from cattle specifically. Climate scientists, environmentalists, and the plant-based "meat" industry alike have been urging people to drastically slash the amount of beef they consume; a recent study calculated that if Americans cut at least 50% of animal products out of their diet, we'd see a 3.4% reduction in emissions levels.

Obviously, this is terrible news for the beef industry, which has been doing its darndest to disprove these cold, hard facts, and when that proves impossible, it makes up "facts" of its own.

Bloomberg reports that for the past two years, beef industry officials and a handful of academics whose work is coincidentally funded by livestock business groups have been trying to convince us that climate science is wrong, employing a form of "alternative math" to "prove" that beef isn't bad.

America's pro-beef backers have adopted a new method for measuring how much methane is produced by the 80 million cows the industry raises and slaughters every year, which climate scientists estimate release about 243 million tons of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. To downplay these figures, the beef industry is using a relatively new climate measuring metric called the GWP*, which focuses entirely on changes in methane emissions. This means that all the blame can be shifted to countries where the cattle industry is growing, whereas countries with long-established steady outputs—like the good ol' U.S. of A.—appear to be relatively faultless.

Is your blood boiling yet? Well if not, check out the full Bloomberg article, which has plenty more intel on Big Beef's tricks. Tricks like funding "scientific research" that claims the beef industry has "in reality" had zero impact on climate change, and may have very well reduced the planet's warming. Just goes to show that with a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of money, you, too, can harm the planet for fun and profit.