Nowadays, it is a distressingly common rhetorical strategy for people who favor one policy or another to claim that "science" is on their side. Now come some vegetarians who claim that eating meat contributes to global warming. EarthSave International argues that the problem is that the digestive tracts of pre-steak cows, pre-bacon pigs, and pre-roasted chickens produce methane which is 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels. Thus, the report maintains,
The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan), we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today"
Alas, nothing is simple. Earlier this month other researchers reported that bacteria growing on the roots of rice plants produce nearly as much methane as farm animals do.
Is breatharianism the only solution to global warming?