Not Real News

On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming President Joe Biden’s plan to combat climate change will require Americans to limit their meat consumption by 90%, to just 4 pounds of red meat annually or one hamburger per month. 

CLAIM: President Joe Biden’s plan to combat climate change will require Americans to reduce their meat consumption by 90%, to just 4 pounds of red meat annually or one hamburger per month.

THE FACTS: Biden isn’t coming for your Fourth of July barbecue, despite a flurry of posts suggesting as much on social media. Over the weekend, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called the president the “Hamburglar,” while Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert warned Biden to “stay out of my kitchen,” and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote that meat restrictions were “not gonna happen in Texas!” However, Biden’s climate plans have never included those metrics, nor has the president announced any policy restricting meat in American diets. The falsehoods began April 22, when Biden opened a virtual climate summit by announcing his goal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030. Biden briefly hinted at some initiatives to help reach that ambitious goal, but did not mention red meat. The same day, the British tabloid The Daily Mail published a speculative story that suggested “Biden’s climate plan could limit you to eat just one burger a MONTH.” As evidence, the outlet cited a January 2020 University of Michigan study unrelated to Biden that looked at various U.S. diet scenarios and their environmental impact. Fox News falsely linked the study to Biden’s climate policies, stating in on-air discussions that achieving Biden’s climate goals would require Americans to cut red meat by 90% and eat just “one burger per month.” The University of Michigan study did not mention Biden, nor did it reference any forthcoming government policies restricting meat consumption. Instead, it explored various hypothetical reductions in animal-based foods in the U.S. diet and concluded that they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fox News anchor John Roberts clarified the network’s reporting on Monday, saying the data from the University of Michigan study was accurate, “but a graphic and the script incorrectly implied it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case.” The Britain-based Daily Mail defended its reporting, arguing its story was an attempt to fill a gap in details on how Biden planned to achieve such an ambitious emission reduction target.

— Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in Seattle contributed this report.