Americans love their pets. In fact, we spend over $60 billion on them annually. Furthermore, many social justice warriors who seemingly despise their fellow humans will often be found protesting on behalf of animals.

Progressives who love animals and truly believe in climate change may have trouble fully embracing the assertions of a UCLA professor who says our pets are contributing to global warming.

In a study released Wednesday, a geography professor at UCLA calculated that the meat-based food Americans’ dogs and cats eat – and the waste those pets produce – generate the equivalent of about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

That’s as much as about 13.6 million cars driving for a year, says professor Gregory Okin in a paper published in the journal PLOS One.

Put another way: Dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States.

The professor leading the study explains:

I like dogs and cats, and I’m definitely not recommending that people get rid of their pets or put them on a vegetarian diet, which would be unhealthy,’ said Professor Gregory Okin who led the research.

‘But I do think we should consider all the impacts that pets have so we can have an honest conversation about them. Pets have many benefits, but also a huge environmental impact.’

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that a group of Swedish researchers were recently telling people to have fewer kids to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. The authors from the “Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies” added a few more quality-of-life killing recommendations in their paper for good measure.

We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions:

– having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year)
– living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year)
– avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) –
– eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).

I am so old that I can remember when the population explosion was going to lead to a planetary climate catastrophe:

Many environmentalists in the 1960s and 1970s were concerned about how the rapid population growth in the post-World War II era was straining human ability to produce for itself. Nature imposed limits. When it was published in 1968, Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb predicted global famine due to rapid population growth. Much before this famous book, William Vogt’s 1948 Road to Survival warned that rapid population growth would make us feel “scarcity’s damp breath.”

Vogt, the Ehrlich’s, and others like Donella Meadows (one of the co-authors of The Limits to Growth) were labeled neo-Malthusians. Their critics now crow that food supply has kept up with rapid population growth since the 1970s. We did not see widespread famine in the 1980s and when famines did occur it was typically due to civil war and other forms of violence. Certainly, inadequate nutrition remains a problem in many parts of the world, but it is not because we are unable to produce enough food to feed everyone fully. Indeed many more people on the planet today are overfed than ever before. Malnutrition is a matter of income inequality, not food production capacity as was thought by many environmentalists.

So, you might say, the critics were right.

And critics of climate change inanity are equally correct today.

So, enjoy your pets, because the UCLA researchers are barking up the wrong tree. Furthermore, I suspect this theory may be the one that cause many progressive pet-lovers to question their entire climate change belief system.

To cleanse your palate of the UCLA’s climate change banality, here is a more amusing look at cats and dogs: