by Kelley Sullivan Georgiades
In his October 25th article, “Fighting Climate Change Requires Changing Texas Beef and Oil Culture,” Chris Tomlinson completely misses the mark. The cherry-picked and over-simplified statistics used in the article ignore the fact that the EPA itself places greenhouse gas emissions from cattle at only about 2.25% of total U.S. emissions.
In reality, the ag and timber system absorbs more carbon than it releases. There is not enough cultivated land in existence to feed our country and without the nutrient-dense source of protein that comes from beef. By reducing the cattle inventory, this will drive more deforestation to create more cropland. Unfortunately, that means Tomlinson’s assertion that “climate change might come to a screeching halt if all humans switched to electric transportation and a vegetarian diet by 2030” is woefully inaccurate.
Tomlinson proclaims that “Texans consider an affordable steak dinner and a big pickup truck God-given rights.” Food prices are rising. Many Texans are struggling to feed their families. How tone-deaf to criticize affordable food. Food insecurity is not a joke.
This type of sarcasm and radical vegetarianism also does not help in the quest to find real solutions to climate change concerns. When using data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization from 1975 to 2017, the U.S. beef industry has reduced carbon returned to the atmosphere from beef cattle by about 30%. All while producing more beef for a hungry public.
It’s time for real, practical solutions. Enough with the war on beef.
Sullivan submitted the forgoing letter to the editor to the Houston Chronicle in response to Chris Tomlinson’s Oct. 25 opinion article, titled “Fighting Climate Change Requires Changing Texas Beef and Oil Culture”