Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 15 March 2012

An unholy alliance

Even by the Mail's standards, this is a good one:

The world’s obese people could help stop global warming by going on a diet, scientists claimed today.

Help stop global warming, no less; lose weight and save the planet! I can see it has the makings of a best-selling book. But wait, there's more...

Obese and overweight people were said to be contributing to climate change just by breathing.

We've got used to being lectured about our air miles and car use, but that's going to be a hard one to cut down on. In any case, who's to decide what constitutes overweight? The parameters are, to say the least, somewhat blurred.

The Mail has the scientific 'facts' to back this up; according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, scientists at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University:

if all the world’s heavyweights dropped 10kg, C02 emissions would fall by 49.560 metric tonnes a year. That’s the equivalent of 0.2% of the CO2 emitted globally in 2007.

Now I don't claim to be much good at statistics, but that seems to me an unfeasibly large figure, particularly as there's a whole other issue, so to speak, that the researchers didn't take into consideration:

They did not include methane gas emissions from flatulent large people, despite evidence about cows contributing to greenhouse gases, which is a shame, because it opens up a whole new set of interesting possible campaign slogans*.

So where is all this going? Will a fat tax be combined with a climate change levy on foodstuffs? Will the Nanny State use the findings as an excuse to impose draconian diets and exercise regimes under the terms of the Kyoto protocol? It's a frightening thought, given the energy and single-mindedness with which the PTB pursue the green agenda.

We've already seen measures in place to round up overweight 'clients' for government-sponsored 'healthy eating' programmes and attempts to instil guilt over CO2 generation, now imagine the two combined - it would certainly be the end for drive-thru burger joints (which is, admittedly, something I personally would welcome on linguistic grounds).

It's a perfect storm of righteousness waiting to happen; we just have to hope, for the good of humanity, that no-one in power suddenly decides to take the Daily Mail seriously because it happens to suit their agenda.

*Some years ago, the strong regional accent of a BBC reporter discussing the appointment of a 'Fat Czar' to tackle obesity led to the Spouse mishearing the title as 'Fart Czar', a designation the Tavern gleefully adopted henceforth for any government-appointed interfering busybody.


  1. Perhaps a vicious circle if the Huffington post article is to be believed. They are reporting that Danish Scientists say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere cause people to gain weight because one of the body's reactions to CO2 is to increase the appetite.

  2. Fat people consume more organic matter than thin people and therefore act as bigger carbon sinks.

    So aim to be as fat as possible and make sure you are buried rather than cremated is the carbon-friendly message.

  3. Westerlyman - a worrying prospect, if the Danes are right!

    It makes me wonder about something a plasterer told me years ago; he worked for a housing association and spent most of his time dealing with the results of condensation in households where windows were never opened - in some cases, he had to show the occupants how to work the catches.

    AKH, an interesting idea. Am I right in thinking that, given long enough, you might eventually turn into oil, providing fossil fuel for who- or whatever is populating the Earth millions of years hence?

  4. Wish you hadn't written of burgers around lunchtime.