LONDON: Going the vegetarian way can help to tackle the problem of global warming apart from its known health benefits to human, according to a climate expert.
“Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,” Lord Stern of Brentford said.
“Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas,” he said.
Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.
“I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said.
A former chief economist at the World Bank, Stern warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £ 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the impact of climate change.
Speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change, Lord Stern admitted that he himself is not a strict vegetarian.
Video found at CNN.com
According to the U.N., going vegetarian would have a positive impact on climate change. Watch the video here.
Indian beef production is predicted to increase by 5% in 2009. This is reported to be due to strong export demand and rising domestic consumption (ZMP and Brazilian Meat Monitor).
According to reports, production of mainly buffalo meat is set to rise to approximately 2.7 million tonnes. Around a third of production (850,000 tonnes) is predicted to be exported, mainly to South East Asia and the Gulf states. In such markets where Australian and Indian product co-exist, Australian beef faces considerable price competition from Indian buffalo beef.
There is major potential for India to significantly increase production because of the current low level of technology across the supply chain. Currently, India is considered the world’s third biggest beef exporter in terms of volume, behind Brazil and Australia.
By Kate Wilson, The New York Times
A few months after Lloyd reported on the Swiss government’s conclusion that plants have rights, the Ecuadorian population went one step further and voted to change their constitution to proclaim that nature has “the right to the maintenance and regeneration of its vital cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.”
The New York Times felt that the Ecuadorian concept of plants’ rights was significant enough to include it in their 8th Annual Year in Ideas list. Enquire further to find out what this could mean for conservation efforts in the South American nation.
The precise scope of nature’s rights is unclear. Referring to Pachamama, an indigenous deity whose name roughly translates as “Mother Universe,” the text puts less emphasis on defending specific species than on the rights of ecosystems writ large. And it is uncertain how, exactly, a country as poor as Ecuador can protect those rights — though observers expect to see a raft of new lawsuits against oil and gas companies.
As Risen notes, it remains to be seen if ecosystems will become protected because of the constitutional changes, but what is clear is that the local population thinks it’s worth a try. Almost 70% of Ecuadorians voted in favor of protecting nature in this method.
Ecuador drafted the changes with the help of the U.S. based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Along with it’s work in Ecuador, the Fund “has assisted more than a dozen local municipalities with drafting and adopting local laws recognizing Rights of Nature.” The basis of these rights “change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.”
With a world economy, partially-based on the sanctity of property rights, in a nosedive it’s possible that radical ideas like this will take hold. We’ll watch with cautious optimism that other nations will follow the Ecuadorian lead to respect and protect our interconnected planet.
By Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine
Need another reason to feel guilty about feeding your children that Happy Meal — aside from the fat, the calories and that voice in your head asking why you can’t be bothered to actually cook a well-balanced meal now and then? Rajendra Pachauri would like to offer you one. The head of the U.N.’s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri on Monday urged people around the world to cut back on meat in order to combat climate change. “Give up meat for one day [per week] at least initially, and decrease it from there,” Pachauri told Britain’s Observer newspaper. “In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity.” So, that addiction to pork and beef isn’t just clogging your arteries; it’s flame-broiling the earth, too.
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.”
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.”
There are various possibilities for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming animals.
They range from scientific approaches, such as genetically engineering strains of cattle that produce less methane flatus, to reducing the amount of transport involved through eating locally reared animals.
“The NFU is committed to ensuring farming is part of the solution to climate change, rather than being part of the problem,” an NFU spokeswoman told BBC News.
“We strongly support research aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock farming by, for example, changing diets and using anaerobic digestion.”
Methane emissions from UK farms have fallen by 13% since 1990.
But the biggest source globally of carbon dioxide from meat production is land clearance, particularly of tropical forest, which is set to continue as long as demand for meat rises.
Ms D’Silva believes that governments negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol ought to take these factors into account.
“I would like governments to set targets for reduction in meat production and consumption,” she said.
“That’s something that should probably happen at a global level as part of a negotiated climate change treaty, and it would be done fairly, so that people with little meat at the moment such as in sub-Saharan Africa would be able to eat more, and we in the west would eat less.”
Dr Pachauri, however, sees it more as an issue of personal choice.
“I’m not in favour of mandating things like this, but if there were a (global) price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less,” he said.
“But if we’re honest, less meat is also good for the health, and would also at the same time reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Article found at Permaworld Foundation
The meat industry is one of the most destructive ecological industries on the planet. The raising and slaughtering of pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys and chickens not only utilizes vast areas of land and vast quantities of water, but it is a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the automobile industry. The seafood industry is literally plundering the ocean of life and some fifty percent of fish caught from the oceans is fed to cows, pigs, sheep, chickens etc in the form of fish meal. It also takes about fifty fish caught from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.
We have turned the domestic cow into the largest marine predator on the planet. The hundreds of millions of cows grazing the land and farting methane consume more tonnage of fish than all the world’s sharks, dolphins and seals combined. Domestic housecats consume more fish, especially tuna, than all the world’s seals.
So why is it that all the world’s large environmental and conservation groups are not campaigning against the meat industry? Why did Al Gore’s film Inconvenient Truth not mention the inconvenient truth that the slaughter industry creates more greenhouse gases than the automobile industry? Continue reading