Want to give your public pronouncement a little zing? Try throwing in the words Hummer and Prius and imply that the SUV is better for the earth than the Prius. CNW sure knows the value of making the false claim. Last week, author Michael Pollan tried a similar trick when he said at the 2009 Poptech conference that, “A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius.” Guess who’s had to issue a mea culpa?
Pollan, who wrote The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books, was blasted by people armed with facts. Specifically, Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin from the University of Chicago found that shifting from eating meat to veganism saved about 2 tons of CO2 equivalent per person per year. A Hummer driver, on the other hand, emits 4.76 tons more per year than a Prius. Pollan later said that:
After digging into it further, and consulting Gidon Eschel, I don’t feel comfortable defending [my earlier statement]. It’s much more important to keep the focus on the central thrust of the environmental case against eating industrial meat, which is not in dispute and certainly does not stand or fall on the case of the vegan Hummer driver.
We’re not against people making attention-getting statements for effect, but what’s with constantly attacking the Prius? Can’t a car just get 50 mph in peace?
Eating his words: Michael Pollan retracts Hummer-vegan/Prius-meat-eater comment originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 30 Oct 2009 11:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.