DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF A SANDWICH: Straw Laws, Meat Taxes, and when ‘Science’ Infringes on Freedom

10th February 2018

Read it.

A story out of the United Kingdom details a University of Manchester research project to determine the carbon footprint of the humble sandwich. The upshot: a prepackaged and refrigerated breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon or sausage, produces as much carbon dioxide as a 12-mile car trip. No word on what kind of car the scientists assumed in this calculation — likely not a Tesla charged with coal-fired electricity.

At the other end of the scale was a ham and cheese sandwich made in one’s own kitchen. Presumably the fact that such a homemade meal didn’t require an employee who had to commute to work to make the sandwich, along with the packaging, shipping and refrigeration for hours afterward, played a large role in that sandwich’s superior carbon footprint rating.

Once you know what the ‘carbon footprint’ is (assuming your calculations are anywhere correct, which I dispute), so what? The assumption seems to be that a ‘carbon footprint’ is a bad thing. Is it? Almost everything in life seems to have a ‘carbon footprint’ of some kind — but saying that doesn’t really tell you anything useful.

The Unarticulated Assumption of this whole effort seems to be that a smaller ‘carbon footprint’ is better than a larger one, but without any sort of scale by which carbon footprints can be measured, and some sort of idea as to what constitutes an ‘acceptable’ carbon footprint, it tells us Absolutely Nothing Useful. Another Unarticulated Assumption is that somehow human being are responsible for all of the ThoughtCrime ‘carbon footprints’ existing in the world today — which is proglodyte religious dogma, and (again) not useful. (What is the ‘carbon footprint’ of a whitetail deer? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

Presuming that the Manchester scientists are correct in their data, so what? As a former California lawmaker, I know the practical effect of such a study is to inform policymakers to “Do something!” That something most likely being a tax on prepared foods with higher carbon footprints.

My question is: How does increasing taxes solve whatever problem is caused by ‘carbon footprints’? Then theory seems to be that if we slap a tax on something, then less of that something will be produced. The flaw in that reasoning is that history teaches us that whenever we slap a tax on something, people just bend their minds to evading the tax, not toward decreasing the ‘carbon footprint’. The major disqualifying counter-argument is that, if a large ‘carbon footprint’ is a bad thing, then the proper governmental action is to ban the activity, not just tax it. (Somehow that never seems to occur to legislators.)

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