September 17, 2008 8:39am
One perspective...not Boris'
Time magazine also covered Dr. Pachauri's lecture and produced a thoughtful piece on meat and climate change. Not to be outdone, London's voluble new mayor, Boris Johnson, also weighed in on Dr. Pachauri's analysis -- rather less thoughtfully. In a column full of his trade-mark "Boris bluster" he poked fun at the UN and the "UN man" and suggested the UK hold feasts of meat and name them for Dr. Pachauri. Man is an omnivore, Johnson declared, and it's curbing global population growth -- not meat -- where public and policy attention should be. Father-of-four Johnson didn't refer to his own production and consumption habits. Nor did he leaven his screed with many facts, including that Western meat consumption is still much higher than that in less developed regions . . . but that with the globalization of the Western consumer lifestyle, per capita meat and dairy consumption is rising rapidly, much faster than population growth rates.
Case in point: well, China, of course. (See the Brighter Green policy paper -- if you haven't already.)
While the mayor was waiting on lines for omnivorous meals at the Beijing Olympics while observing the scant lines for "salad" (an anecdote he relates in his column), he may well have usefully been reading -- the policy paper. Maybe he will have by the time the Olympics get to London in 2012. Even as summer in the northern hemisphere winds down, it's clear the heat is on.