A Free-Market Energy Blog

Tomlinson’s Beef against Beef (Houston Chronicle editorialist says we’re irrational)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 29, 2022

“No wonder so many Texans refuse to acknowledge climate change; the planet’s fate relies on transforming not only our economy but our culture.”

“It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that climate change might come to a screeching halt if all humans switched to electric transportation and a vegetarian diet by 2030.”

It can be said: the climate alarmists worship at the alter of deep ecology. How else to explain why the parishioners of the Church of Climate refuse to question their premises or consider real-world roadblocks to their starry-eyed agenda?

Why do they refuse to seriously consider the eco-downsides of industrial wind turbines, solar slabs, and batteries–and the eco-benefits of CO2 enrichment and a moderately warmer and moister world?

All this in the face of alleged climate anxiety….

Houston Chronicle Bias

The Houston Chronicle has shamed itself and Houston as a Progressive Left rag with a Sports Section thrown in to keep the readership. Lots of cancel culture to those with different options, including climate and fossil-energy optimists, a situation to which I can personally attest.

There are no conservatives, classical liberals, or libertarians of note at this newspaper, which pretty much tells you that intellectual diversity is not valued, and idea competition is feared.

Daily fare at the Chronicle is all about renewable energy this-or-that, with criticism muted and cheerleading rampant. Fossil fuels are demonized at every editorial turn. And little wonder that Houston foundations have teamed together to give the big-paper monopolist some competition (the sooner the better).

Business editorialist Chris Tomlinson is the worst when it comes to energy (see the Appendix below). And he fears hometown competition too (“What I find difficult to grasp is why donors are financing a new nonprofit that will compete for funding in a city with a healthy daily newspaper….”)

Beef Angst

And now to my beef with Tomlinson’s beef with beef, “Fighting Climate Change Requires Changing Texas Beef and Oil Culture” (October 25, 2021).

Never mind that climate alarm results from exaggerated predictions from unreliable, groping models–and that data indicate global lukewarming and moderate sea level rise (etc.), a story for another day.

Never mind Tomlinson’s large conflict-of-interest that an intimate has made millions of dollars as a developer of solar and wind projects, which rely on taxpayers (see here and here).


Here is Tomlinson’s editorial (followed by a final comment):

An industry that emits far more greenhouse gases per unit of energy produced than oil or natural gas happens to be another Texas mainstay: cattle raising.

No wonder so many Texans refuse to acknowledge climate change; the planet’s fate relies on transforming not only our economy but our culture.

Raising, slaughtering and delivering a pound of ground beef to a customer’s home releases 13 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Onshore oil producers on average release 26 pounds of carbon when producing a 42-gallon barrel of oil.

People who eat beef do 10 times more damage to the climate than vegetarians, according to peer-reviewed studies published in Nature Food. Eating pork is six times as destructive while limiting yourself to chicken is only twice as bad as going vegetarian.

“The Economist” magazine recently pondered regulating beef like coal.

Food production accounts for a third of the world’s greenhouse emissions, double those released by the United States. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that climate change might come to a screeching halt if all humans switched to electric transportation and a vegetarian diet by 2030.

Of course, change that radical will never happen. A lot of Texans consider an affordable steak dinner and a big pickup truck God-given rights. But as world leaders gather in Glasgow, Scotland, next week to discuss the next steps in preserving the climate for future generations, they will examine a plethora of ideas, including food systems.

Populations are declining in wealthy countries, but low-income nations are still growing. Food security is worsening where weather patterns are disrupting agriculture and triggering an economic collapse.

Global communications have also raised lifestyle expectations. Every person with a screen knows what Texas barbecue looks like, and they are not going to stay home and starve when they know a better life is available elsewhere.

Much of the migration from Central America is driven by climate-driven agricultural collapse. A 2019 report by the non-partisan thinktank American Security Project predicted waves of migrants would soon arrive at our southern border due to long-term, climate-induced drought and crop failures. Well, they’re here.

We need a global approach that balances demand for more and better food sources with the need to plant more trees to capture carbon, all the while improving standards of living. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical.

In my travels to more than 60 countries, I’ve found that farmers know the climate is changing. They are struggling to adapt with new seeds, different planting techniques or completely new crops. The more challenging proposition is convincing North Americans they must do their part.

Despite powerful hurricanes or polar vortexes that have destroyed our property and killed our neighbors, many Texans will never accept that 200 years of massive population growth and industrialization in the United States has taken a toll on the atmosphere.

Too many people cannot acknowledge that their life’s work providing affordable protein and energy that Americans demanded will ultimately degrade their grandchildren’s quality of life.

Even more Texans argue that limiting greenhouse gas emissions is too disruptive to our present-day lives and economies. Therefore, we should accept a hotter, drier and stormier world. Better to let future generations cope with climate change tomorrow than risk making people less comfortable today….

For four generations, humans have believed they are masters of the universe. Thanks to technology and industrialization, animal protein is more available and affordable than at any point in human history. We’ve made energy equally cheap and abundant.

Texas’s culture and economy celebrate these accomplishments. Confronting the myth that we can consume all the beef and fossil fuels we desire directly contradicts our anything-is-possible attitude. But everything has a price.

We will pay for our profligacy one way or another, either by changing our sources of protein and energy or dooming future generations to worsening weather and natural disasters.

Business people and economists talk incessantly about how transforming our culture offers enormous potential for wealth creation. But humans are not always rational, especially when it comes to their way of life.

Americans are certainly going the other way than Tomlinson preaches. Beyond Meat Company sales are down, and its stock price is at record lows. Beef consumption is increasing with Texas as the leading cattle/calves state in the country, almost double that of Nebraska. But the Chronicle business editorialist will not dare do a story about these trends–or the inherent consumer advantages of oil, gas, and coal against dilute, intermittent, market-rejected wind and wind and large-scale battery packs.

It is time for Chris Tomlinson to question climate exaggeration; tell us the full story about wind, solar, and batteries; and at least let others enjoy a flame-kissed cheeseburger or BBQ plate without eco-guilt. Big brother elitism/authoritarianism is a scary thing in the context of climate alarmism/forced energy transformation.


Tomlinson Bullies the “Bullying” Oil Industry December 14, 2021

Chris Tomlinson Gets Ugly against Petroleum (Houston Chronicle bias shines through) December 9, 2021)

Business Columnist vs. Fossil Fuels & Capitalism (Houston Chronicle’s biases shine through) March 5, 2019

Also see:

On the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Crusade Against Fossil Fuels (September 10, 2019)

Getting in the Houston Chronicle (back window better than nothing, I guess) (July 28, 2021)

Houston Chronicle vs. Petroleum: The Latest (May 6, 2020)

“Save Earth”: Houston Chronicle Goes 1970s (Malthusian alarm getting long in the tooth) (April 30, 2019)

Houston Chronicle: Preaching Climate Alarmism Post Harvey (October 4, 2017)

Politicizing Harvey in the Houston Chronicle (September 6, 2017)

Houston Chronicle Editorial: A Global-Warming Scare Story (January 18, 2017)

Houston Chronicle: Former Environmental Writer Documents Origins of Left/Alarmist Bias at the Paper (November 12, 2009)


  1. John W. Garrett  

    Tomlinson is obviously a nutjob.

    Somebody should cram a copy of Dr. Steven E. Koonin’s magnificent book “Unsettled” down Tomlinson’s throat.


    • rbradley  

      Not a nutjob. Just badly conflicted and too arrogant to want to take the time to understand the nuances of market failure versus government failure and analytic failure.


  2. Ronald Walter  

    I gave a call to Chicken Little and asked if the sky is falling. Chicken told me to call Chris, he can tell you more than I can, Mr. Little has little else to say.

    Chris Tomlinson has traveled to over 60 countries. Stop right there.

    One of the bigger fossil fuel users out there then, ain’t he? Thus the stupid hypocrite has plenty of cognitive dissonance and no shame.

    If he uses a computer, lives in a house, drives a car, he uses hydrocarbons and probably more than necessary. Chris can sell it all and go on a hike… to nowhere. Please.

    Always someone else’s fault and Tomlinson thinks he’s a victim when in reality he is another culprit making chaos and ruins of everything in sight.

    It really is all his fault, no matter what. Takes too many crazy pills or something.


  3. John W. Garrett  

    Sorry, but in my construct of the universe, irrational = nutjob.
    Tomlinson qualifies as irrational.


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