If you spent any time watching conservative news this weekend, you might have heard that President Joe Biden is planning on limiting every American’s red meat consumption as part of his administration’s ambitious new climate plan. Fox News ran with a graphic titled “Up In Your Grill” that informed the public that Biden’s climate requirements included cutting 90% of red meat from our diets, allowing Americans a max of four pounds of red beef per year, or just one burger per month. Soon after, Colorado representative Lauren Boebert tweeted out “Joe Biden’s climate plan includes cutting 90% of red meat from our diets by 2030… Why doesn’t Joe stay out of my kitchen?” Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to President Biden as “The Hamburgalar” and Texas Governor Greg Abbot tweeted out a Fox News graphic writing, “Not Gonna Happen in Texas.”
“No burgers for thee, but just for me.” pic.twitter.com/vXb4gCGsgW
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) April 25, 2021
Governor Greg Abbott is right, this policy is not going to fly in Texas… or anywhere else in the United States for that matter, because it’s not part of Biden’s climate plan. When President Biden laid out his climate plan last Thursday, he made no mention of attempts to change the American diet, instead focusing on plans to create new infrastructure jobs, and deploying cutting-edge tools to farmers in America’s heartland, according to The Washington Post.
The information shared on Fox News actually came from a Daily Mail article titled, alarmingly, “How Biden’s climate plan could limit you to eat just one burger a MONTH, cost $3.5K a year per person in taxes, force you to spend $55K on an electric car and ‘crush’ American jobs” that cited an unrelated University of Michigan study (conducted before Biden was elected President) that examined the impact of limiting meat consumption on the environment. The study includes an extreme scenario — the one the Daily Mail ran with and tried to tie to Biden’s plan — that showed that a 90% decrease in red meat consumption by 2030 would cut diet-related emissions to 2.4 kg CO2 per capita per day.
Unchanged, the American diet would result in 646 million metric tonnes of CO2 in 2030. So while the Biden administration doesn’t have any plans to limit our consumption of meat…maybe we should do that ourselves?
Obviously, a 90% reduction is going to alarm people but the case to decrease our overall meat consumption isn’t revolutionary. According to the University of Michigan study, the total emissions associated with producing the average American diet equals out to 5.0 kg CO2 per person per day, which, if unchanged, will likely lead to 5.14 kg CO2 per person per day with current population projections. Cutting meat consumption and replacing it with less energy-intensive plant-based alternatives is a reasonable piece of planning a sustainable future on this planet.
Regardless, Biden’s plan isn’t about that at all and the news is simply fake — extrapolated from unrelated sources and hyperbolized in bad faith. No one is trying to take your burgers, but maybe you should try a plant-based burger now and then anyway. You might actually like it!