June 22, 2012

Overweight human beings are the equivalent of an extra 242 million people on earth.

According to a new study (via Reason.com).
Although the largest increase in population numbers is expected in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, our results suggest that population increases in the USA will carry more weight than would be implied by numbers alone," researchers wrote.
You know, I don't think an extra 242 million people sounds like that much. (Only 17 million tons!) But — and this is a big but — if these oversize people are in the U.S., they're going to move around in cars, and the more weight they move, the more fossil fuel they consume, the bigger the carbon footprint. So extra weight in America has a greater environmental effect than extra weight in places where people don't engage in so much commuting and traveling.

51 comments:

jimbino said...

Right, so when are the government and the airlines going to start giving discounts or other incentives to small people? We need some kinda nudge here!

MadisonMan said...

Pee Wee Herman tag?

I've lost 10 pounds now this summer.

The Drill SGT said...

More statist rationing crap for the masses, (for thee but not me).


I have an idea, let's ban first class travel and all private jets. That saves lots of carbon. Let Hollywood fly cattle class...

rhhardin said...

Make fat people climb hills and give them rides down, as a source of renewable power.

Ben Franklin had a turnstile at the door that put a pail of water on the roof.

Jana said...

I just came in from trimming our hedges with old-fashioned clippers. I feel so righteous.

Chip S. said...

I was expecting this at the "big but" link.

MadisonMan said...

Oh, never mind -- I clicked the link. Shoulda seen *that* one coming!

Amartel said...

Lots of publicity for sciencey observations about fat people v. Gaia lately.

Linked article at Reason
+
"Global weight gain more damaging than rising numbers" [BBC]
"Weight of the World: Humanity's Fatness an Environmental Problem?" [LiveScience]

Gee, I wonder if it's a coordinated effort? Because ain't nothin' like a good old fashioned witch hunt to cheer up the yokels.

Ann Althouse said...

C'mon, Simone, let's talk about YOUR big but.

traditionalguy said...

More super-nonsense dressed up as a real problem needing a Government Intervention.

These scary numbers are meaningless drivel made to seem important by the faked concern from faked science Con men working for the UN.

Fat people are so easy to trigger Guilt Reactions demanding religious expiations from paying money for nothing, with the only benefit being our PRIDE at our keeping the meaningless rules.

These Con men are our enemies. They make Mormonism seem rational.

DADvocate said...

I'm more worried about the effects of rice paddies and cow farts on global warming. We have an impending disaster on our hands, you know.

I'm 60 lbs heavier now, than in high school when I was painfully skinny. But, I eat half as much. Where am I coming out on the balance sheet of climate change? I don't each much rice but I do enjoy beef.

john said...

Perhaps reviving the three-fifths of all other Persons rule (Article 1 of our consititution) would help resolve the issue of uneven representation gained by weight alone.

Recall the National Enquirer article of a couple years back where they predicted that earth would fly off its rotation because of all the extra weight we're packing. That's a much bigger problem.

Paddy O said...

Food is the new sex.

prairie wind said...

So extra weight in America has a greater environmental effect than extra weight in places where people don't engage in so much commuting and traveling.

Maybe that is true today, but who knows what changes are ahead? We already know that China doesn't care two pins what its carbon footprint is, and they are polluting like crazy over there.

I also don't care two pins what my carbon footprint is. In fact, I am eating Cheetohs at the moment and they could very well be made of yummy petroleum products, for all I know.

DADvocate said...

C'mon, Simone, let's talk about YOUR big but.

Shouldn't there be that extra "t" in that line by Bob Seger?

Oh they do respect her but(t}

They love to watch her strut

Henry said...

Isn't math wonderful?

edutcher said...

Hmmm,

And here I thought Treblinka-on-the-Gallatin would just be for people who read Althouse.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

Our lawmakers have been on this issue for quite some time.

bagoh20 said...

OK, now lets talk relative contributions...

Cedarford said...

"
So extra weight in America has a greater environmental effect than extra weight in places where people don't engage in so much commuting and traveling."

Except that isn't true except in a moment in time, and not a continuum.
The hard-working beer and brats eating white electrician in Wisconsin weighting 235 pounds "in the moment" may consume more resources than a skinny Somali or eating at the margin Egyptian or the poor Haitian Mammy and her 9 hungry chilluns.....
But the truth is Americans consume less energy than in the 70s, and less per capita than their 1950s ancestors.
While Haitians, Somalis, and Egyptians have tripled the food and energy requirements they need.

Why?

Breeding rates, with more Mammys and 2nd Muslim wives churning out more carbon users and mouths to feed than they can handle without "free stuff" from evil white Westerners.

And it will get worse. Right now, the above mentioned 3 nations and 60 others are dependent on food aid - from the surplus that the energy intensive infrastructure
and high energy use agriculture and transportation systems done by people like the evil white Wisconsin electrician that weighs and appalling 235 pounds (stealing the carbon use a Haitian great-grandmother and her 56 descendents all on welfare - need!)

EDH said...

Whenever they trot-out this kind of rationale for social engineering, how come they never start by experimenting with people in the government workforce?

Quaestor said...

The average global body weight is 138 pounds, but for North America, the average weight is 178.

Does this figure allow for the fact the the proportion of children is much higher globally than in North America (median global age 26.9 years vs. 36.9 years here)?

The best way to measure how much the fatties consume is to measure how much they spend. Do fat Americans spend more than skinny Americans?

This strikes me as one of those "back of the envelope" studies that extrapolates numbers based on assumptions, and not on real research. You know, the kind of engineering study that demonstrates that a 40-foot pterosaur is impossible just before a 45-footer is unearthed.

Update: I read the paper, and guess what? They did not allow for the fact that a greater proportion of the global population is children than in North America. Am I psychic, or what?

Quaestor said...

Next time they should calculate the productivity per pound of the US and weigh that against the Third World. It's only just that what you eat should be in proportion to what you produce.

bagoh20 said...

I wonder if this calculation was adjusted for the fact that outside of the U.S, a larger portion of the population are small children, doing nothing but consuming resources, hiding in cornfields and killing adults with extreme prejudice.

It takes 3-5 small starving children to equal the weight of one American adult, and then kill that adult, who planted that corn for them to hide in.

Oh yea, there's an injustice here for damned sure!

EDH said...

Let's bring back something that's... Funky Butt Chic?

bagoh20 said...

Looks like everyone here immediately saw the flaw in this calculation, but I bet on lefty blogs they are hand wringing about fat Republicans. I don't like fat Republicans either, but what about Rosie O'Donnell? - yea, that's just wrong in a global sense. She's gotta go.

Ponderosa said...

The Earth's actual weight:

5,972,000,000,000,000,000,000 Metric Tons or, 6,479,034,670,000,000,000,000 Short Tons (US) or,
12,958,069,340,000,000,000,000 Pounds (US)

The earth gains between 10 and 1,000 tons of mass in the form of dust each day
-----

Pretty sure much of it is due to water retention (and dust)...
not people.

Kirk Parker said...

If Jonathan Swift were still with us, he'd propose a system whereby large, guilt-ridden Westerners could buy Weight Offsets from undernourished third-world residents.

Coketown said...

I am privileged to be lean, and that's unfair. To me, I mean. They're going to start taxing soda, cars, bacon, and who the hell knows what else because the number of slothful slobs who over-indulge keeps increasing. I'm a Pepsi fiend but indulge in moderation. Ditto bacon. Really? I should pay more for soda because Vivian Goldstein of Parma, Idaho, standing 5'4" at 210 lbs, can't say no?

Why don't we tax by weight? Once a year, everyone makes a trip to Nebraska to be weighed in front of the entire nation, and they're taxed accordingly. The shame might even provoke people to change their habits. Or tax shoes, which I'm sure wear out much faster under the duress of robust figures so is an appropriate thing to tax.

I'm Coketown and I approve this message. Paid for by Coketown for Congress 2012. >:(

Ken said...

So obesity accounts for 3.6% of people's total weight and this is supposed to be a problem... why?

cruiser said...

But, on the other hand, who cares? Do you realize that since the heady environmentalist days of the Cuyahoga River fire, the Environmentalist Industry has not been right about one blessed threat of environmental catastrophy. Why would anyone in their right mind pay any attention at all to these clowns?

cruiser said...

...in HIS right mind...etc.

Scott said...

Only in America could you find so many different flavors of fascism.

Henry said...

How about we create a weight+car maximum? The more you weigh, the smaller car you're forced to drive.

Let's say the maximum driver + car weight is 3,600 bounds. Congratulations, 198 lb person, you can drive a Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (curb weight: 3,402 lbs)! But not a Volvo V50 T5 (curb weight: 3,524 lbs). That's reserved for jockeys.

No one is allowed to drive the Subaru Outback 3.6r (curb weight 3,609 lbs). Maybe there should be an HOV exception. But not for fat people, right? And not for kids either, except for the one you're allowed. The extra seats go to vegetarians.

ricpic said...

How pathetic our so-called educated are, buying into the carbon footprint guilt trip, on an earth that is in the continual process of creating energy from its core to its surface.

bagoh20 said...

rhhardin said:

"Make fat people climb hills and give them rides down, as a source of renewable power.
"


I don't know if you thought of that yourself, but I think it's pure genius. Even just have such a thing installed on your home stairways. They walk up to bed at night, ride down in the morning and the power is used to make pancakes. Renewable indeed!

Rumpletweezer said...

For most of human history, hunger has been the biggest problem. Now we have enough food that large numbers of people are getting larger and larger. Could it be that the Malthusians are looking for something else to do?

PatCA said...

Hows about a little old-fashioned deterrence?

You go into a little town somewhere and you find the first five fat guys you see and crucify them.

shirley elizabeth said...

"Or tax shoes, which I'm sure wear out much faster under the duress of robust figures so is an appropriate thing to tax."

My husband has shoes from his high school days (9 years ago) that are still in good shape. I had a pair of trail shoes I ran down in 3 months (go-lites. fun to buy once.). I'm little, but I'm hard on shoes.

Sigivald said...

Count of people who give a damn, whose opinions are worth caring about?

Zero.

Jay said...

Don't worry, Hillary is in Rio touting abortion as population control ("To reach our goals in sustainable development, we also have to ensure women's reproductive rights").

Sanger's legacy lives on!

Dante said...

"if these oversize people are in the U.S., they're going to move around in cars, and the more weight they move, the more fossil fuel they consume, the bigger the carbon footprint. So extra weight in America has a greater environmental effect than extra weight in places where people don't engage in so much commuting and traveling. "

I really hope this is a joke. It's hard to tell these days with the craziness surrounding "Catastrophic Global Warming."

Cedarford said...

Keep in mind that while the liberals are exoriating the fat, evil white people sucking up food and spweing carbon....besides the utter refusal to mention the world's carbon use is now driven by 3rd world breeding rates and 3rd World industrialization....

The liberal guilt trip SPECFICALLY exempts the black women that now outweigh most adult hogs fattened for market....and all those blob kids that have ballooned under "free school lunches, free school juice, free food at home and in restaurants from foodstamps."

See, liberals believe obese blacks are blameless victims.

1. Evil white agribiz and evil white soda companies selling wares, often with horrible transfats and HFCS.....have done this to whale sized black women and their Orca-sized chilluns.

2. That and poverty ....because when you are poor, it DRIVES you to buy fries and fried chicken and ice cream and evil soda - instead of more nutritous carrot sticks and organic baby arugula.

3. Because blacks suffer more than anyone through no fault of their own - liberals have started a program to have taxpayers pay for "minority owned fruit and vegetable shoppes" in the inner cities...with prices further subsidized by evil white taxpayers.

Bob_R said...

So if we kill off 242 million thin people I can quit my diet.

Craig Howard said...

Well, I say that we should just produce more to accommodate them. It will CREATE JOBS!

Nora said...

" and the more weight they move, the more fossil fuel they consume, the bigger the carbon footprint"

The same argument goes for the paper bags vs nylon bags (a paper bag is several times heavier, on top of all the cut trees to produce them). However, envirojunkies still consider paper bags more environmentaly friendly.

Erika said...

The average global body weight is 138 pounds, but for North America, the average weight is 178.

Yeah hunh. We're comparing Americans/Canadians to Filipinos? Asians? African Pygmies?

I'm not huge, but I am of white northern European heritage, so I am not tiny. I've been to Japan multiple times, and being in a crowd made me feel like an ogre at my 5'4", 130 pounds. Many adult Japanese women are literally the size of my (very healthy) ten year old daughter. Not to mention I've also spent a lot of time around Filipino people, who are similarly sized; I'm not sure I've seen a woman much over five feet and around a hundred pounds, or a man much more than five six and maybe 140.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have gotten to the point that when I hear about a "carbon footprint", I pretty much automatically figure that whoever is talking at that point, is selling me a bill of goods. The further we get from ClimateGate, the more AGW seems like it is accepted common wisdom.

My view, as always, is that when the leaders of the carbon movement start acting like they believed in CO2 usage as real problem, I will revisit my position. And, we can start at the top, with the CinC using AF1 like a personal auto, criss-crossing the country constantly to raise campaign contributions.

All you have to do to remain skeptical is to remember "Hopenhagen", where private jets were parked two countries away, because they had run out of parking spaces for them in Denmark.

Bruce Hayden said...

The other thing to keep in mind, and how you know this is bogus, is to keep in mind that obese people don't live as long as people of normal weight. The fatter you are, the shorter your life expectancy. And, yes, the lower the amount of social security that you will collect (or, more likely, never collect).

So, until they start factoring in life expectancy into this, I will consider it to be a bogus statistic.

Bruce Hayden said...

When it comes to overweight, so much seems to be in the eyes of the beholder.

I have spent much of June in NW Montana, but still officially reside in the Colorado mountains west of Denver. Big difference. Last summer, my kid spent in Boulder, CO, and we got there the day of the Bolder Boulder. Scary - you felt obese if your BMI was over maybe 10%.

So, last night as I was leaving the Town Pump (local gas station/convenience store/casino), pickup pulled up next to me, and the couple in the front must have weighed north of 500 lbs between them. And, I realized how different it was from the ski community I normally live in. Up here, and, I think through a lot of rural America, a lot of the population seems to be overweight. Sometimes, as there, grossly and morbidly so.

A lot of things go into that. One may be that eating is social, and there is a lot of eating. Made sense when everyone worked on the farms from dawn to dusk. But, also, the food tastes a lot better - through a good part of the year, the veggies here are home grown (in an acre sized garden) and the beef is to die for, since it was raised maybe 10 miles down river from here, and traded for hay. No hormones, no feed lots, and the best food.