Forbes online is carrying a story entitled, Eating Less Meat Is World's Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts. A co-author of the report cited in the story concludes,
According to the report,The entire goal of today’s international climate objectives can be achieved by replacing just one-fourth of today’s least eco-friendly food products with better alternatives.
For those who follow the climate change issue, the report's conclusions are not novel.Livestock (like automobiles) are a human invention and convenience, not part of pre-human times, and a molecule of CO2 exhaled by livestock is no more natural than one from an auto tailpipe. Moreover, while over time an equilibrium of CO2 may exist between the amount respired by animals and the amount photosynthesized by plants, that equilibrium has never been static. Today, tens of billions more livestock are exhaling CO2 than in preindustrial days, while Earth’s photosynthetic capacity (its capacity to keep carbon out of the atmosphere by absorbing it in plant mass) has declined sharply as forest has been cleared. (Meanwhile, of course, we add more carbon to the air by burning fossil fuels, further overwhelming the carbon-absorption system.)
In my view, however, I doubt that human beings or their political and economic institutions have the capacity to alter human behavior even this small amount (i.e. reducing animal products in diets by 25%) in order to stave off the effects and consequences of climate change.
I suggest it is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that any notion that human intelligence is a survival factor is unwarranted. Certainly, humans have overwhelmed many species in the short term, but in the long term, given the human animal's well-documented inability to change behavior to realize long term survival of human civilizations, we can be confident that the worst effects of climate change will occur. There is nothing in human behavior to suggest they can be avoided. Civilization, as we know it or hope it might become, cannot be achieved. To suggest otherwise is either denial or the most extreme expression of wishful thinking and hubris.