Andrew Yang floats hiking beef prices to 'modify' American diets in bid to address climate change

The U.S. should try addressing climate change by raising the cost of beef, 2020 Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang suggested on Thursday.

He made those comments while appearing at a climate change forum at Georgetown where a student claimed reducing demand on the cattle industry was the only realistic way to mitigate the industry's impact on the environment.

"Cattle is very energy-consuming and energy-expensive," Yang said, "and if you project forward on what we would need to do to reduce emissions, you would want to modify Americans' diets over time."


Yang acknowledged that it would be difficult to "regulate diets" and suggested charging cattle producers more money.

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"So what you would want to do again is you’d want those cattle producers to have to internalize the cost of emissions... So then, what that would naturally do, and some people are going to hate this, but it would probably make those products more expensive," he said.

The issue of cattle farming has become somewhat of a sacred cow in the climate debate. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-Calif., famously caught flak for focusing on cow farts as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

An FAQ on her "Green New Deal" read: "We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero."

During an interview in February, Ocasio-Cortez defended the focus on cattle as a part of factory farming.

“In the deal, what we talk about, and it’s true, is that we need to take a look at factory farming, you know? Period. It’s wild,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And so it’s not to say you get rid of agriculture, it’s not to say we’re gonna force everybody to go vegan or anything crazy like that. But it’s to say, ‘Listen, we gotta address factory farming. Maybe we shouldn’t be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like, let’s keep it real.”


The state of California also previously passed a law allowing the state's Air Resources Board to regulate cow farts.

Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.