|By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Livestock production has a bigger climate impact than transport, the UN believes
People should consider eating less meat as a way of combating global warming, says the UN’s top climate scientist.
Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will make the call at a speech in London on Monday evening.
UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport.
But a spokeswoman for the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said methane emissions from farms were declining.
Dr Pachauri has just been re-appointed for a second six-year term as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, the body that collates and evaluates climate data for the world’s governments.
“The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” he told BBC News.
“So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider.”
More of the BBC article plus my response follows….
Climate of persuasion
The FAO figure of 18% includes greenhouse gases released in every part of the meat production cycle – clearing forested land, making and transporting fertiliser, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions of cattle and sheep.
The contributions of the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – are roughly equivalent, the FAO calculates.
Transport, by contrast, accounts for just 13% of humankind’s greenhouse gas footprint, according to the IPCC.
Dr Pachauri will be speaking at a meeting organised by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), whose main reason for suggesting people lower their consumption of meat is to reduce the number of animals in factory farms.
CIWF’s ambassador Joyce D’Silva said that thinking about climate change could spur people to change their habits.
“The climate change angle could be quite persuasive,” she said.
“Surveys show people are anxious about their personal carbon footprints and cutting back on car journeys and so on; but they may not realise that changing what’s on their plate could have an even bigger effect.”
I’ve become a vegetarian. I try to minimize the use of cars. Where I’ve failed is my impact with regard to air travel. I tell people I was born a Hindu who believes in reincarnation. It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint. There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime.
Many of you may recall this blog entry from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s Floor Speech on Global Warming. He touches on the UN claim of livestock and emissions:
A 2006 report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” to the United Nations mentions livestock emissions and grazing, and it places the blame for global warming squarely on the hind parts of cows. Livestock, the report claims, accounts for 18 percent of the gases that supposedly cause the global warming of our climate. Cows are greenhouse-emitting machines. Fuel for fertilizer and meat production and transportation, as well as clearing the fields for grazing, produce 9 percent of the global CO2 emissions, according to the report. And also, cows produce ammonia, causing acid rain, of course.
Now, if that’s not bad enough, all of these numbers are projected in this report to double by the year 2050. Well, not only are we then going to have to cut personal transportation, which will keep us at home, but when we stay at home, we can’t even have a bbq. And heck, they won’t even let us have a hamburger.
One of the most interesting paragraph’s refutes Pachuri’s claims quite well I think:
I would like to point out that before the introduction of cattle, millions upon millions of buffalo dominated the Great Plains of America. They were so thick you could not see where the herd started and where it ended. I can only assume that the anti-meat, manmade global warming crowd must believe that buffalo farts have more socially redeeming value than the same flatulence emitted by cattle. Yes, this is absurd, but the deeper one looks into this global warming juggernaut, the weirder this movement becomes and the more denial is evident.
What next from Pachuri? Stop bathing? Perhaps we should all mail him a bag of this: