As Former President Barack Obama spoke at a food innovation summit in Milan, Italy, he lauded his accomplishments in moving toward clean energy during his two terms. He also warned the world that cows and meat are causing a rise in climate emissions.
“People aren’t as familiar with the impact of cows and methane,” Obama informed the audience, saying people are more familiar with the idea of vehicle emissions than the impact cows are having, although he makes an exception for farmers, as he believes they do understand. He says cows contribute to global pollution through their methane gas emissions and impact on eco-systems.
As he sat, talking to his former chef Sam Kass, he talked about food production and consumption. He said differences between countries and their individual needs makes it difficult to “shape rational policy” around regulating food distribution.
“As people want to increase meat consumption, that in turn is spiking the growth of greenhouse emissions coming out of the agricultural sector,” Obama said, while discussing the fact that some countries consume more meat than others.
“What it does mean is that we’re also going to have to find ways to produce protein in a more efficient way,” he said. Kass, who admitted he may have cooked “thousands of steaks” for the former president, was interrupted by Obama, who thought it wasn’t thousands.
They dropped the subject when Kass offered, “Well, hundreds maybe,” qualifying that he’d been cooking for Obama for 10 years.“What is true is that I’m not a vegetarian,” Obama admitted, although he said he does respect vegetarians.
He begins his comments about the impact of cows at around the 15 minute mark, and the conversation meanders slowly through the topics.
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