In the latest freak-out over climate change, on Thursday, all three broadcast networks warned of a new “alarming” United Nations report predicting threats to the global food supply and practically demanded that people become vegetarians to reduce methane emissions by cows. The coverage might as well have been delivered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Sounding the alarm. The disturbing new international report just out this morning that says climate change will threaten the world’s food supply and the window to stop it is rapidly closing,” co-host Savannah Guthrie melodramatically announced at the top of NBC’s Today show Thursday morning. In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Anne Thompson fretted: “...we’re cutting down the gifts nature gives us to absorb carbon dioxide...by cutting down forests and rainforests.”
Guthrie proclaimed: “I mean, it’s a real wake-up call. It’s very alarming. There is some hope in this report.” Thompson reassured her and viewers by telling everyone to just give up eating meat:
Absolutely. And that was – these scientists, and it’s global scientists who created this report, they wanted to let people know it’s not dire. There are things you can do. And it starts with changing the way you eat. Instead of eating a meat-based diet, they suggest that if we go to a more plant-based diet, we will actually reduce carbon emissions.
Later in the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, Guthrie returned to the topic with a dire news brief:
The United Nations is out this morning with a major warning about climate change and its threat to the world’s food supply. Today’s report says that reducing meat production would ease the strains it puts on land and water supplies that accelerates climate change. It stopped short of advocating meat-free diets, but the report did call for major changes in both eating habits and farming methods to reduce their impact on the planet.
Even during a food segment in the 8:30 a.m. ET half hour, Today health and wellness conrtributor Dave Zinczenko touted the supposed environmental benefits of eating meatless burgers: “...it’s much better for the planet, it’s much more sustainable. So if you’re, you know, thinking about the environment and you’re trying to eat, you know, less red meat.” Co-host Craig Melvin chimed in: “And that new U.N. report just out this morning that speaks to that.”
Thursday’s CBS This Morning also touted the U.N. climate report, but at least correspondent Adriana Diaz went and talked to a cattle rancher in Kansas for criticism of the recommendation:
Ranchers say it’s not efficient to eat less meat as a way to fight climate change. To give you some context, one study says that going vegan for a year will reduce your carbon footprint by half as much as avoiding a single flight to Europe. Still, today’s report says that changing your diet can help fight global warning. But many ranchers think the cow/climate change connection is overblown.
Rancher Brandi Buzzard told the reporter: “So I think that we can make more impactful changes in our lives through recycling or walking to work or using public transportation, than we can by actually changing what we eat, because it will have such a minimal impact.”
Even so, Diaz still stuck to the liberal media script: “But changing what we eat is what the report suggests. It argues in part that eating more plant-based foods and sustainably-produced meats can change land use and mitigate climate change.”
Sadly, whatever balance there was during the This Morning segment vanished by the time Diaz reported the same story on CBS Evening News later that day. Anchor Norah O’Donnell set the much more biased tone: “Tonight, the U.N. has a stark warning: If there is any hope of combating climate change the world needs to change the way it eats.”
Diaz reinforced that narrative: “Environmentally friendly farming could reduce carbon emissions up to 18% by 2050. Eating more plant-based foods and less meat could cut another 18%, or more.” Buzzard again appeared and pointed out: “U.S. beef production is the most sustainable in the world, and U.S. beef production is only accountable for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s according to the EPA.” Diaz scolded: “Shouldn’t more be done to bring that 2% to 0%?”
Unlike NBC and CBS, ABC did not devote a full report to the climate hysteria, though fill-in anchor Tom Llamas still lectured viewers about their diet during a news brief on Thursday’s World News Tonight:
An ominous new report from the United Nations about the threat to the world’s food supply. More than 100 scientists warn that soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, and that climate change, including flooding and drought, is speeding up the loss. But they say there is hope if change comes quickly, including shrinking farmland while growing forest, wasting less food ,and persuading more people to shift from meat-based to plant-based diets.
It’s amazing how closely media coverage of climate change aligns with language in Ocasio-Cortez’s radical Green New Deal.
Here is a full transcript of the August 7 report on NBC’s Today show:
7:14 AM ET
CRAIG MELVIN: Now to that troubling new international report just out this morning that says climate change could lead to a worldwide food shortage. NBC’s Anne Thompson covers the environment for us, she joins us this morning. Walk us through what this report says, Anne, and the main threat that we’re facing.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Climate Change Threatens World’s Food Supply; Alarming UN Report Calls for Change to Human Diet]
ANNE THOMPSON: Well, basically, it says there are two things that are happening, Craig and Savannah, one is that climate change is already impacting the Earth. We know that the land is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. So that’s creating problems. And then how we use that land is creating problems as well. Because we’re cutting down the gifts nature gives us to absorb carbon dioxide, the fuel – the gas that fuels climate change, by cutting down forests and rainforests. So those two things combined are putting us in this problem.
GUTHRIE: I mean, it’s a real wake-up call. It’s very alarming. There is some hope in this report.
THOMPSON: Absolutely. And that was – these scientists, and it’s global scientists who created this report, they wanted to let people know it’s not dire. There are things you can do. And it starts with changing the way you eat. Instead of eating a meat-based diet, they suggest that if we go to a more plant-based diet, we will actually reduce carbon emissions. Another thing, reduce food waste. They say that could reduce carbon emissions around 15%. Then the other thing is to change the way, when we do grow food, change the way we do it. Go to no-till agriculture and do a better job of targeting pesticides. So there is hope.
MELVIN: Just really quickly here, Anne, how would changing our diets, specifically, how does that lower emissions?
THOMPSON: Okay, because this is – it gets back to cows emit methane, and methane is one of those gases that fuels global warming, it’s a heat-trapping gas. So if there’s less methane in the air, then there’s less impact of climate change.
MELVIN: Thank you.
THOMPSON: You're welcome.
MELVIN: Anne Thompson, thank you.
GUTHRIE: Thank you.
Here is a full transcript of the August 7 report on CBS Evening News:
6:36 PM ET
NORAH O’DONNELL: Tonight, the U.N. has a stark warning: If there is any hope of combating climate change the world needs to change the way it eats. That’s the big takeaway from the first-ever comprehensive look at climate change and land use. More now from Adriana Diaz in our Eye on Earth series.
ADRIANA DIAZ: Fossil fuel emissions have long been seen as the major culprit driving climate change. But human land use or misuse from agriculture and forestry accounts for roughly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: UN Issues Dire Climate Change Warning]
VALERIE MASSON-DELMOTTE [CLIMATE SCIENTIST]: The way we produce food and what we eat contributes to the loss of natural ecosystems and declining bio-diversity. And this exacerbates climate change.
DIAZ: That vicious cycle is the key conclusion of the U.N. report, which says fundamental changes are urgently needed, including how we produce and consume food. Environmentally friendly farming could reduce carbon emissions up to 18% by 2050. Eating more plant-based foods and less meat could cut another 18%, or more.
JIM SKEA [CLIMATE SCIENTIST]: Diets that are high in grains, nuts, and vegetables have a lower carbon footprint than those that are high in meat.
DIAZ: Less beef production could reduce the greenhouse gas methane which cows release in their manure and gas.
Are they emitting methane right now? But Kansas cattle rancher Brandi Buzzard says the global report is not an accurate portrayal of agriculture in the U.S.
BRANDI BUZZARD: U.S. beef production is the most sustainable in the world, and U.S. beef production is only accountable for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s according to the EPA.
DIAZ: Shouldn’t more be done to bring that 2% to 0%?
BUZZARD: It is something, but I think we need to remember that we have to eat.
DIAZ: We also eat far less than we produce and cutting down on wasted food will reduce greenhouse gases due to excess food production. U.C. Davis professor Frank Mitloehner:
FRANK MITLOEHNER: Forty percent of all food produced in this country goes to waste. And do you know who the main culprit is? You and I.
DIAZ: Ironically, while the over-production of food contributes to climate change, according to the report, as the world gets warmer, there will be less food security because of more deserts and less farmable land. That means that improving our land management and farming techniques are essential to our well-being. Norah?
O’DONNELL: Quite a warning. Adriana Diaz in Kansas tonight, thank you.