Cattle on pasture.
July 9, 2019

Debunking the Myth That Cows Are Responsible for Climate Change

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a lengthy op-ed piece in its Sunday, July 7, edition that debunks the persistent myth among environmentalists that cows (and their flatulence) are to blame for climate change.

Paul John Scott, a Rochester, Minn. freelance writer, lays out the argument that first created the myth, largely fueled by a 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s estimate that cattle were responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The estimate has since been reduced to less than 15%. In the United States, agriculture accounts for 9% of GHG emissions, and all livestock, just 3.9%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“When you stick to the knowable, direct emissions, the climate burden of cattle fall away,” writes Scott.  

Scott also takes on a recent EAT Lancet report, which advocates a mostly plant-based diet, limiting meat consumption to a few ounces of beef, pork and lamb per week. “The campaign, funded by a vegan billionaire from Scandinavia and the Wellcome Trust, a philanthropic organization with family ties to the vegetarian Seventh-day Adventist Church, was lead-authored by the Harvard nutritionist Walt Willet, a longtime sower of anxieties over meat and influential federal nutrition policy boss,” notes Ross.

Ross cites another study that claims GHG emissions would level off by 2050 if everyone on the planet simply ate a vegetarian diet. “It was an extraordinary bit of math,” he writes.

The op ed piece has garnered more than 120 comments from readers thus far. You can read the full column, “It’s the Cars, Not the Cows Here” here.