Blame the fat people
As if we need another example of how far removed from science the obesity hysteria has become. An article in New Scientist magazine accuses fat people of causing global warming and killing polar bears:
Now consider what may seem a more unlikely driver of climate change: the global obesity epidemic. We tend to think of obesity only as a public-health problem, but many of its causes overlap with those of global warming. Car dependence and labour-saving devices have cut the energy people expend as they go about their lives, at the same time increasing the amount of fossil fuel they burn. It's no coincidence that obesity is most prevalent in the US, where per capita carbon emissions exceed those of any other major nation, and it is becoming clear that obese people are having a direct impact on the climate....The social stigma attached to obesity is one of the few forces slowing the epidemic - even though obesity is not a personal failing but a problem of society. We live in an environment that serves primarily the financial interests of the corporations that sell food, cars, and petroleum.
The editors at Climate Resistance uncovered this story and responded in a cutting post, calling out some of its fallacies:
...[Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine] speciously reasons that obese people, who (allegedly) consume 40% more calories than non obese people, (allegedly) use their cars more because they are too fat to move properly, and (allegedly) eat the kind of things which are more CO2 intensive, contribute disproportionately to global warming than their thin counterparts. Roberts's argument is not scientific, but a narrow, shallow, and hollow critique of capitalist society....
Roberts [who wrote: “And as the number of obese people increases, a kind of positive feedback kicks in. Obese people in the US are already throwing their political weight around.”] then asks us to panic about the possibility of the political voice of fat Americans being used to demand, elevators, escalators, and other forms of labour-saving mechanisation...
When all that the best clinical minds can offer is the political idea that people's desire for food and labour-saving devices (ie, higher standards of living) are expressions of a kind of false consciousness, small wonder that people complain about 'health fascism'....
As we’ve seen and these editors noted, fat people don’t actually eat differently than thin people, nor is there any credible evidence that fat people most love cars and modern conveniences.
In fact, among the many disconnects in the reasoning in the New Scientist piece, one comes from Roberts' own research! He and colleagues in London previously published a study on inner-city children in the UK, for example, that found most children (69%) walked to school and only 26% travelled by car, but it was the poorer children who walked more than the richer kids. “Attendance at a private school, family car ownership and longer distances to travel to school were the principal determinants of car travel,” he and colleagues said. In another 2003 report on pedestrian safety and overcrowded roads, he also said: “Poor kids walk much more than rich kids, who tend to spend a lot of time in the car.”
Yet it’s poorer children who tend to be fatter.
And, as JunkScience.com readers who’ve taken its fun GREEN pledge know, rather than making a bigger carbon footprint: “Fat people are composed of more carbon than skinny people, thus keeping more carbon out of the environment.” :)