Do we really face a climate cat–astrophe?
By Duggan Flanakin
One day I will write a book: 111,111 ways our saviors have proposed to save the planet from the coming climate-driven catastrophes and extinctions. Meanwhile, here’s one you may not have considered.
At my cat-loving daughter’s house the other day, I ran across one of her books – How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You (by Matthew Inman). A little later, I saw this headline: “Hollywood Celeb Emma Thompson: Eat your pets to survive ‘climate crisis.’”
My first thought? “Emma must have read this book!” But I read the article and did other research. It turns out that Ms. Thompson has repeatedly warned the world that the supposed climate crisis means we must expect “crop failures, water contamination, damaged houses, and ruined lives.” She now says we may even have to eat our own pets in order to survive the coming climate apocalypse.
That means it’s not just a crisis. It’s turning into a bona fide cat-astrophe! A furr-ocious cat-aclysm rooted more in dog-ma than in science or actual weather and climate evidence! But a rallying cry nonetheless.
Despite what Ricky Gervais said at this year’s Golden Globe ceremonies about Hollywood types being “in no position to lecture the public about anything,” Emma certainly thinks she knows what she’s talking about. She has won two Oscars! And two Golden Globes! And in 2018 Queen Elizabeth named her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire! So she is now officially Dame Emma.
Moreover, as of December 2019, she even has an award named after her, though perhaps not one she will brag about. In its inaugural competition, the London-based climate policy NGO, the Global Warming Policy Forum (www.TheGWPF.com), announced that it is naming its annual World’s Greatest Climate Hypocrite Awards “The Emmas,” after Dame Emma.
Noting how she had flown first class across the Atlantic to attend a climate protest in London, then jetted back the same way, champagne glass in hand, GWPF director Dr. Benny Peiser said her “shamelessness” and “lack of self-awareness” have “propelled her to the very top of the field. There are brass-necked business people and sanctimonious politicians aplenty, but none can match our Emma; she really is a worthy first winner of our prestigious new award.”
Former President Barack Obama won the eco-hypocrite prize in the Politician category, while Richard Branson took home the Business class laurels. But at least Dame Emma flew commercial. Leo DiCaprio is notorious for taking private jets and limousines to lecture us lesser mortals about how we must reduce our living standards to save the planet, while former VP Al Gore prefers private jets and SUVs to do so.
But don’t get your dander up about Emma. Turns out she is rather late to the game.
Back in 2017, the online journal PLoS ONEpublisheda report on research by UCLA scientist Gregory S. Okin: “Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats.” In the USA alone, Okin asserted, 163 million dogs and cats have a hugely detrimental impact on the environment, from the food they consume to the waste they produce.
Okin found that US dogs and cats “consume as much dietary energy as 62 million [human] Americans” – and are responsible for 25-30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the USA. If these four-footed friends were a separate country, Catdoggia would rank fifth globally in meat consumption. Getting rid of dogs and cats, Okin gushes, would be “the environmental equivalent of removing 13.6 million cars from the road.”
Some cat lovers might note that his analysis emphasizes canines and conclude that the world is once again going to the dogs. The ever-grumpy Garfield certainly isn’t happy about that.
Indeed, back in 2013, utilizing a 3-year U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funded study, researchers found that previous estimates that cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year were very low. Cats actually kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually, they reported, plus between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion mammals – mainly mice, shrews, rabbits and voles. Not even wind turbines wipe out that many birds (and bats) annually: see here, here, here and here.
Then there is top New Zealand economist and self-styled environmentalist Gareth Morgan, who created a foundation to promote his cat-killing ideas. Morgan demanded that New Zealand register and neuter all cats, raise the bar for “allowing” cat ownership, encourage citizens to cage-trap loose cats and turn them over to local authorities, euthanize all unregistered cats, fine all registered owners (!), and require that those same local authorities “dispose” of cats for free.
It’s been reported that Morgan is the local hero of the New Zealand Mouse and Rat Protective Society. But even Morgan is a piker.
Writing in the German leftist Neues Deutschland (New Germany), Katharina Schwirkus argued that, “In addition to their disgusting excretions, pets are also bad for the climate – because they eat meat and thus contribute to the emission of carbon dioxide” (and methane, we would add). Schwirkus says the ecological footprint of an average German cat is as large as that of a human Egyptian.
“If you want to do something good for the climate, you shouldn’t buy a dog or cat,” she insists. “The breeding of four-legged friends should be stopped in the long term…. [T]he romantic picture of pets must finally be deconstructed. Children should be made aware from a young age that it is absolutely selfish to keep a dog or a cat in a city.” People needing “comfort animals” will not be happy.
Meanwhile, according to “ethicist” William Lynn, writing in The Conversation, in 2015 the Australian government declared a war on feral cats, with a goal of killing over 2 million felines by 2020 via shooting, trapping, and “humane” poison. Lynn argued that there was no scientific basis for the government’s estimate of 20 million feral cats in Australia, nor for killing a tenth of that alleged number.
He instead argues that individual animals have a moral value, and that cats are themselves victims of human ecological errors. Lynn also questions the moral legitimacy of climate extinctionists who advocate for lethal management, which he says rests “on the assumption that individuals don’t matter – but ecosystems do. He concludes by saying “it is human beings [not cats] who bear direct moral responsibility for the ongoing loss of biodiversity in our world.”
(If you need some amusement and a break from the endless asserted and predicted climate catastrophes ... that don’t involve cats ... check out this 50 years report, other recap articles like this one, the outdated but enlightening and entertaining WarmList, and the WUWT Climate Craziness of the Week section.)
It is those same certain human beings – certainly not cats – who are spreading irrational fears about human-generated, plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide somehow, recently replacing the Sun other power natural forces in driving climate and weather fluctuations. Those climate crisis proponents insist that any climate and weather different from what most of Earth and humanity may have experienced over the last 50-250 years is unprecedented and will be cataclysmic.
They trumpet and bemoan the alleged coming climate extinction crisis – and produce massive volumes of “studies” and scare stories – telling everyone else what we must do to save the planet, while they the wannabe ruling elites tour the planet first class or in private jets, stay in five-star resorts, and demand that we eliminate just about everything that brings joy to the world of regular human beings.
Ricky Gervais is right. They are in no position to lecture us about anything. So enjoy your cat, dog, steak, car, overseas vacation and whatever else helps you enjoy your short sojourn on this wonderful planet.
Duggan Flanakin is Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org)