Lara Logan posts questions journos should be asking of Bill Gates and his push for ‘synthetic beef’

Fox Nation investigative journalist Lara Logan posted a series of ‘journalist questions’ to ask Microsoft founder Bill Gates after he suggested the world’s richest countries stop consuming beef and instead switch to a plant-based alternative.

“Journalist questions of the day – What is in ‘synthetic beef’? Is it regulated by the FDA? How much of the industry do you own? What is happening to crop diversity as your foundation proliferates GM modified seeds across the third world?” Logan, who hosts “Lara Logan Has No Agenda” on the Fox streaming service, wrote on Twitter, hashtagging Jesse Kelly, who hosts a weekday show on streaming network The First, as well as podcaster Michael Berry.

Logan’s post comes in response to an interview the billionaire tech guru-turned-philanthropist gave to MIT Technology Review, which was published Sunday. In it, Gates discussed his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” in which he laid out policies he believes will reduce the alleged threat.

One of them is to reduce the consumption of beef.

“There are [companies], including one…called Pivot Bio,” Gates said, “that significantly reduce the amount of fertilizer you need” to grow food. There are advances in seeds, including seeds that do what legumes do: that is, they’re able to [convert nitrogen in the soil into compounds that plants can use] biologically. But the ability to improve photosynthesis and to improve nitrogen fixation is one of the most underinvested things.

“In terms of livestock, it’s very difficult,” Gates continued. “There are all the things where they feed them different food, like there’s this one compound that gives you a 20% reduction [in methane emissions]. 

“But sadly, those bacteria [in their digestive system that produce methane] are a necessary part of breaking down the grass. And so I don’t know if there’ll be some natural approach there. I’m afraid the synthetic [protein alternatives like plant-based burgers] will be required for at least the beef thing,” he added.

Environmentalists like Gates have often said methane produced by millions of cattle is a major contributor to climate change.

“I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand,” Gates told MIT Technology Review. 

“I mean, these are good things – in fact, buying Beyond Burgers actually drives demand, which will get the quality up and the rate premium down, so consumer behavior is important,” he added.

The outlet reported that Gates has invested in Beyond Burgers, which uses a plant-based derivative, as well as Pivot Bio, Memphis Meats, Carbon Engineering, and Impossible Foods, most of which are either producers of or are developing synthetic meats.

“As for scale today, they don’t represent 1 percent of the meat in the world, but they’re on their way. And Breakthrough Energy has four different investments in this space for making the ingredients very efficiently. So yeah, this is the one area where my optimism five years ago would have made this, steel, and cement the three hardest,” he said.

Gates went on to admit that because U.S. livestock are “so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa.”

“I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef,” he said.

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Jon Dougherty

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