Where’s The Beef? First Scare Tactics Against The Green New Deal
Sunday March 3rd… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
We knew it was coming….conservative or Republican blowback against the Green New Deal, but with hamburgers? This is strange but true. The first concerted effort to politically turn enough of the U.S. public against the Green New Deal so it will eventually have Inhofe’s snowballs chance in hell of passing the U.S. Congress is with beef, or to spread fear that the freedom to eat cow products will be threatened by the measure. The tactic is similar to the one used by the National Rifle Association claiming that any gun control will lead to confiscation of guns, which would be against the second amendment. The ploy is to convince people through fear that the Green New Deal is “watermelon red” on the inside, leading to loss of freedom. Is the Green New Deal a communist threat? Of course not!
Admittedly I am trying to become a vegetarian, improving my diet for health reasons, but I still at times have meat cravings. I would never advocate that we take “all American” hamburgers off the menu nationwide or putting more taxes on meat products (although I won’t be shocked that some legislators might suggest the last measure).
Too, I’m starting to hear that Green New Deal proponents want to take individual internal combustion engine cars away from folk without a replacement option. This is a blatant falsehood.
Here is what the Washington Post has to say about today’s subject as quoted and described by Dino Grandoni :
By Dino Grandoni March 1
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) holds a hamburger during a Congressional Western Caucus news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 27, 2019. (Congressional Western Caucus)
Dozens of Democrats are demanding all sectors of the U.S. economy drive down greenhouse gas emissions with their Green New Deal resolution.
The nearly overwhelming response so far from Republicans in Congress: Where’s the beef?
Republicans are insisting that their Democratic colleagues want to take away that American classic — the hamburger — as part of their resolution to prepare for the effects of climate change.
Whether on Capitol Hill, on social media, or at political conferences, Republicans have made meat a central part of their messaging against the resolution introduced last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, the top Republican on the Natural Resources Committee, held up a hamburger during a news conference Wednesday railing against the Green New Deal. “If this goes through,” Bishop said before taking a bite, “this will be outlawed.”
And Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs of the powerful Freedom Caucus, joked Thursday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland that “Chick-fil-A stock will go way up” because Democrats are “trying to get rid of all the cows.”
Freshman Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee warned in an op-ed in Nashville’s daily newspaper, the Tennessean, that if “the Green New Dealers have their way, cows would be effectively banned.”
Her GOP colleague, John Barrasso of Wyoming, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, similarly went to the stake for cattlemen in his state during a speech last month on the floor of the Senate.“Say goodbye to dairy, to beef, to family farms, to ranches,” the senator said.
“American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshakes would become a thing of the past. Millions of American workers will lose their jobs.”
And of course, there is President Trump, who claimed on Twitter that the Green New Deal would “permanently eliminate” cows.
The Green New Deal’s supporters have pointed out that there is no meat on the bone to that criticism: The resolution itself does not mention beef, burgers or anything similar.
The rhetoric is among the latest instances of those on the political right fixating on Ocasio-Cortez as they search for a winning message in 2020 by casting the Green New Deal as a socialist fantasy. Every Democratic senator running for president has so far supported the freshman representative’s climate resolution.
Republicans are latching onto a comment made by Ocasio-Cortez during an interview on Showtime’s “Desus & Mero” last week, which during which she explained that she wants to “address factory farming.”
“It’s not to say you get rid of agriculture,” she said. “It’s not to say we’re going to force everybody to go vegan or anything crazy like that. But it’s to say, listen, we’ve got to address factory farming. Maybe we shouldn’t be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Democrats say the they’re-taking-away-your-hamburgers argument is a stretch.
“This whole ‘Chicken Little’ approach, I don’t think it’s going to work,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who co-sponsored the Green New Deal and leads the Natural Resources panel, said of the GOP talking point. “The sky is not falling. There is serious legislation to be put together here that is going to require some balance.”
Right now, the Green New Deal is just a nonbinding resolution — not a bill that would have legal teeth if passed — that sets out a series of goals for the United States so that the nation can achieve “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”
The resolution’s aim for the electricity sector, for example, is relatively clear even if it would be very hard to achieve: Get 100 percent of the nation’s power from “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” within a decade. For agriculture, the goal is a little vaguer: Work with farmers to drive down emissions from farms “as much as is technologically feasible.”
To win broad support among Democrats, the Green New Deal resolution was designed to not explicitly ban anything in particular — whether it be burgers, ice cream, airplanes or even coal.
“I’m surprised that Republicans have left out apple pie,” Robert Hockett, a Cornell University professor who was as an outside adviser to Ocasio-Cortez on the resolution, wrote by email. “What it does do is to lay out goals to make alternatives to carbon-based energy so affordable that they simply out-compete carbon and thereby become more attractive to consumers than carbon. “
Yet Republicans are still pointing to an erroneous fact sheet published — but later withdrawn — by Ocasio-Cortez’s office that tried to make a subtle point about the difference between bringing emissions of climate-warming gases down to zero from all sources and bringing the overall net emissions down to zero.
“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” it read.
Even after Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats disavowed that document, the “farting cows” line took on a life of its own among conservatives such as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who tried turning it into a punchline.
In reality, agriculture does account for a significant portion of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — about 9 percent in 2016, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And while much of those climate-warming emissions do come from gassy cattle, both Republicans and Democrats are focusing on the wrong end of the animal.
Most of those emissions come not from cows’ flatulence, but from their burps.
We’ll be watching for more of these conservative attacks on the Green New Deal. Look for oil money to be flowing into the 2020 election to derail the Green New Deal spreading all kinds of fearful falsehoods. In one word: Moo!😉
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The Climate Guy