April 21, 2009

Fat people cause global warming

It must be true - it's in the newspaper. Fat people cause global warming. According to the UK newspaper The Sun. Now for an item by item debunking of this garbage.

1) Overweight people are also more likely to drive, adding to environmental damage."

Uh, okay. Prove it. It may be a valid premise but give me some numbers. There IS this;
Edwards and colleague Ian Roberts wrote in the letter that "more transportation fuel energy will be used to transport the increased mass of the obese population, which will increase even further if, as is likely, the overweight people in response to their increased body mass choose to walk less and drive more."
Okay, that's a hard scientific fact because a scientist said it. No data, he just said it - it must be true. Wait, this is the same Edwards in 2008 in an ABC article shovelling the same schlock in 2008 he is shovelling in 2009.

(2) "Dr Phil Edwards, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “Moving about in a heavy body is like driving in a gas guzzler."

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine? Brushing your teeth and rubbing banana peels on your skin for therapeutic use? Okay that was hasty. Perhaps it's not a two bit school just because it has a silly name. You can see the school's Annual Report from 2007-2008 here and judge for yourself. They are not a fly-by-night college. They are in fact an agenda driven institute. The agenda? Money.

(3) "Each fat person is said to be responsible for emitting a tonne more of climate-warming carbon dioxide per year than a thin one. It means an extra BILLION TONNES of CO2 a year is created, according to World Health Organisation estimates of overweight people."

Estimated. Res ipsa loquitor. (If you don't know Latin, look it up - I had to endure a whole year of it.)

(4) "The scientists say providing extra grub for them to guzzle adds to carbon emissions that heat up the world, melting polar ice caps, raising sea levels and killing rain forests."

They are flatulent and therefore irresponsible. Sort of like the report in The Sun.

(5) "And researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say wealthy nations like the US and Britain are getting fatter by the decade."

Here's the rub - blame America and Britain. Why didn't they just start there and save everyone the time?

(6) "Dr Phil Edwards said: “Food production accounts for about one fifth of greenhouse gases."

Doctor Phil Edwards is a tool. I want to just leave it at that, but allow me to debunk. Greenhouse gases according to the Energy Information Association (which conveniently glosses over this paragraph and launches into supposedly damning stats about CO2); 
Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases.” These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is re-radiated back towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere. Many gases exhibit these “greenhouse” properties. Some of them occur in nature (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide), while others are exclusively human made (certain industrial gases). Over time, if atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remain relatively stable, the amount of energy sent from the sun to the Earth’s surface should be about the same as the amount of energy radiated back into space, leaving the temperature of the Earth’s surface roughly constant.

Water vapor? The same water vapor that accounts for 1% of the atmosphere, whereas CO2 represents 0.035%. The same water vapor that represents 28.57 times the greenhouse gases as CO2. [Those people advocating hydrogen powered vehicles maybe should think again if they are scared of man made global warming.]

Where does Dr. Edwards' data come from regarding greenhouse gases and food production? Does it include the water vapor in the calculation? There's no indication that it does or does not. Clarification would be nice.

(7) " 'We need to do a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness. It is a key factor in the battle to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change.

'It is time we took account of the amount we are eating.
'This is about over-consumption by the wealthy countries. And the world demand for meat is increasing to match that of Britain and America.' 
Blame America and Britain again. Yawn.

(8) Throw in a picture of a polar bear on a melting piece of ice with a caption about ice melting.

Except that Antarctic ice is expanding. Significantly.

(9) Add some panic;
"Australian Professor Paul Zimmet predicted a disastrous obesity pandemic back in 2006.

And Oxfam warned yesterday that the number of people hit by climate-related disasters will soar by more than half in the next six years to 375 million."
Based on what? Where is the journalism in this scrap heap of an article. I investigated this in 30 minutes on the Internet. I found a few things that would at the very least raise some questions before I would consider printing this.

Clearly the investigative work on this story was not done, or not considered, or not in line with the political beliefs of the writer and/or the paper. And they wonder why the public has lost faith in journalists. If they bothered to investigate that too, they would get an answer without too much effort. Whether it's bias or sheer sloth, this type of reporting is inexcusably bad. 

So there.

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