Yet Another Tiresome Study Urging Us to Change Our Diets to Save the Planet

AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File

Sorry, I'm not giving up cheeseburgers, steaks, or bacon.

There are and always have been busybodies who hector us about our diets, our vehicles, our voting choices — you name it, and there are some interfering Gladys Kravitz types out there who will wag their finger at you and complain that you should do what they prefer, not what you prefer. Sorry, but that's not what America is all about.

Now, there is yet another study claiming that we can stop the planet from actually bursting into flame if we just change what we eat. At least they aren't telling us to give up meat. Yet.

Swapping meat lasagna for vegetarian isn't just healthier for you — it's also healthier for the planet. And a new study shows just how much each swap, like switching beef for chicken in stew, saves greenhouse gas emissions.

Switching food and drink purchases to very similar but more environmentally friendly alternatives could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from household groceries by nearly a quarter, according to the George Institute for Global Health and Imperial College London study shows in a new study. 

The study released Tuesday aims to show that consumers do not have to make drastic changes — like giving up meat — to make smarter, climate-conscious choices that aggregate to make an impact on carbon reduction, lead author Allison Gaines tells CBS News. 

"But while consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the food system and willing to make more sustainable food choices, they lack reliable information to identify the more environmentally friendly options," said Gaines, who has a doctorate in public health. 

Who, precisely, decides what reliable information is? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Look, I'm all in favor of people looking things up for themselves and then making their own decisions, but no one person, one organization, or one study can be the arbiter for everyone. And that beginning line — which is not supported by the study named — that vegetarian lasagna is "healthier for you" is nothing but a bald assertion.

See Related: Schadenfreude - Real Meat Turns Out to Be Healthier Than Fake

Here's the onion:

The study recommends that packed food items be labeled with carbon emissions so that climate-conscious consumers can make informed choices. Around a third of carbon emissions are currently attributed to the food and agriculture sector.

The study "recommends," but the only way this is likely to happen, aside from a few niche "environmentally friendly" food companies, is if some level of government mandates it. Mandates like this increase the costs for the companies that prepare, package, and label food for sale, and those costs will be passed on to the consumer.

Along with all the other costs that the various levels of government impose on private businesses.

We live in the middle of the Information Revolution. Never in the history of mankind has so much information been so readily available to everyone in the modern, developed world. There's no good reason to mandate yet another labeling requirement, especially for something as difficult to measure as a food's carbon emissions or their ephemeral effect on the climate.

Frankly, the government's track record on all matters climate-related isn't all that great as it is.

See Related: Buttigieg Flails Trying to Explain Why Only 8 EV Charging Stations Have Been Built by Biden Admin

One study cannot draw conclusions for billions of people, living in billions of different places, making trillions of economic decisions every day, not just what to eat but in everything they do. For example, I'm certain beyond any doubt that a pound of moose meat in my freezer was obtained with less "carbon emissions" than a pound of rice shipped up from the lower 48. 

Leave people alone. Let them make their own decisions. The earth will be fine. And we will retain our freedom of choice.


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