It's hard to know whether to pity or admire an opponent when they're up against a wall and start throwing out the desperation arguments.

In 2006, when the Competitive Enterprise Institute was finding it increasingly hard to buy climate science that challenged global warming, they dumped a lot of Exxon dollars into an excruciatingly bad TV ad with the belly-laugh tag line: "CO2: they call it pollution, we call it life."

(That may be why they got dropped from the sponsorship of what our Man on the Exxon Funding Watch, Kert Davies, calls the "Denial-a-palooza" Conference currently underway in the US)

But our old Viking Whaler pals at the High North Alliance have just thrown the best kitchen sink argument in a long time: "Whale Meat -- it's a climate-friendly alternative to beef."

Now this, kids, is desperation. Iceland couldn't sell enough whale meat last year to justify sending a single whaling ship out this year. Norway doesn't even bother to kill as many whales as their quota allows because they can't move the stuff. Even in Japan, demand continues its decline despite government-funded marketing pushes and subsidised price-cuts.

You can see why they need a new sales pitch.

But let's just accept that the High North Alliance's long-documented concern for the environment and alarm at global warming are genuine, and that they're not just looking for a way to push old wine in a new bottle, and run the numbers:

World production of beef in 2005 was about 50 million tons.

Let's assume we want to make a 1% decrease in beef consumption. And even though it is not true, we will assume that whale meat production has zero CO2 cost. So to replace 1% of the world's beef production we need 0.5 million tons of whale meat - ie 500,000 tons. The Norwegians get about 1.5 tons of meat from a minke whale, so to generate 500,000 tons they will need to kill about 330,000 minke whales.

Unfortunately this is more than double the population estimate - they would wipe out the minke in under 6 months.


And so, once again our friends the folks who drove species after species of whale to the brink of extinction demonstrate precisely how far you can trust the whaling industry to regulate themselves -- which is about as far as you can throw a kitchen sink.