Look at the numbers, forget the spin
For the last few days, the mainstream British media have been assuring us that rich westerners must seriously cut down the amount of meat we eat - and the rest of the world must keep to its current meat-light diet - in order to stave off planetary apocalypse. But what are the facts?
The reports are all based on this paper in the journal Energy and Environmental Science. It was actually published a couple of weeks ago, but nobody noticed: the flurry of interest, as is normal in "science news", stems from a press release issued this week. The press release offers a clear message:
New research from the University of Exeter shows that if today’s meat-eating habits continue, the predicted rise in the global population could spell ecological disaster.
This has generally been simplified along the lines of "Eat less meat to save planet, researchers warn". And to be fair, that does indeed seem to be in line with the personal agenda of the researchers who wrote the paper.