11:49 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019
Americans don't have to "radically or fundamentally change" how they eat, O'Rourke says
CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir asked Beto O'Rourke if the American diet has to change in order to combat the climate crisis.
"To grow one pound of beef, it takes 20 times the land and 20 times the carbon pollution as one pound of plant protein. So as president, how do you think the American diet should change?" Weir asked
O'Rourke said he rejects "any notion that we have to radically or fundamentally change how we eat or what we eat."
He continued: "I just think we have to be more responsible in the way that we do it, and the best way to do that is to allow the market to respond by setting a price on carbon in every single part of our economy, every facet of American life."
What’s the impact of meat production, anyway?
There's a lot for environmentalists to hate about beef. It's cattle ranchers, encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, setting fires in the Amazon to destroy rain forest in order to make room for more meat production.
But there is also the matter of methane produced by cows
. Livestock is responsible for more than 14% of greenhouse gas emissions — and beef in particular is responsible
for 41% those.
Democrats are proposing a shift to “sustainable” agricultural practices, but Republicans have mocked a line cut from a Democratic summary of the Green New Deal that mentioned “cow farts” and allege that Democrats want to take away Americans steaks and hamburgers.