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Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
We all knew it was coming...

Back in 2006, this column reported on the UN's conclusion that livestock farming created more greenhouse gas emissions than all planes, trucks, and automobiles combined. Predictably, the UN is now asking that we "shun meat" to fight climate change. While various lawmakers have proposed banning everything from plasmaTVs to sports cars, this call came from a substantially higher level.

Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian economist who chairs the UN IPCC, has proposed the changes. Pachauri, who is himself a vegetarian, believes the only solution to prevent global catastrophe is for us to cut down on our burgers, steaks, and BBQ chicken.

Despite his lack of any formal credentials in climatology or physical science, Pachauri has just been reelected to his second six-year term at the head of the world's most powerful climate organization.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization estimates 18% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions come from meat production. By contrast, only 13% of emissions come from transport.

Pachauri's remarks were made at a Compassion in World Farming Meeting in London yesterday, a group which believes killing animals for food is morally wrong. CIWF Spokesperson Joyce D'Silva, who attended alongside Pachauri, enthused over the possibilities of reducing meat consumption, "The climate change angle could be quite persuasive.”

"Surveys show people are anxious about their personal carbon footprints and cutting back on car journeys and so on; but they may not realize that changing what's on their plate could have an even bigger effect", she said.

D'Silva called for a Kyoto-like International Treaty to regulate meat production and consumption. Pachauri himself favors a more indirect approach, the so-called "carbon tax" he has advocated on previous occasions:

If there were a (global) price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less. 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.

In related news, an Australian researcher has proposed that we return to hand-washing of clothes to combat climate change. Hand washing clothes would be much friendlier to the environment, the study concludes

Even more exciting is his discovery that "smell-friendly" cotton can be worn without washing more times than a polyester blend, further reducing our energy consumption:

Mr. Navarro, who was commissioned to do a "cradle-to-grave" study of the energy costs of clothing manufacturers, said the use of "smell-friendly" fibers would assist in increasing the number of times a shirt is worn between washes.

"Research shows that polyester is related to more intense sweat odor than cotton," he said.

"This means it is easier to wear a cotton t-shirt more than once before washing than a polyester t-shirt.

Critics of the environmentalist movement have often claimed they're "trying to turn us all into stinky, unwashed vegetarians". With these technology advances in "smell friendly fibers", it's a relief to see at least we don't have to worry about the stink.

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RE: Hahaha
By whiskerwill on 9/9/2008 2:21:32 PM , Rating: 6
- The engineering approach to our problems: "build a better washer".
- The scientific approach to our problems: "find a new energy source".
- The environmentalist approach to our problems: "stop washing your shirts".

Golly I just can't decide which one is better!

RE: Hahaha
By DPercy on 9/9/2008 3:09:41 PM , Rating: 1
That was great.

RE: Hahaha
By mmntech on 9/9/2008 4:34:21 PM , Rating: 3
Lol. That's going up on my wall.

I wonder how much of a donation PETA gave to the IPCC scientists for that little tidbit of information. First it was cow farts, now it's eating meat. Maybe we should all resort to cannibalism since cutting global population would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Soylent Green anyone?

RE: Hahaha
By AlexWade on 9/10/2008 6:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
I am not wondering about PETA, I am wondering if his personal beliefs are affecting him. Mr. Rajendra Pachauri looks like he is from India and in India cows are sacred. Even if Mr. Pachauri is not Hindu, his culture may be affecting his viewpoint. Of course, I don't know where he really is from.

Even if none of that is true and I'm just making broad stereotypes (which I'm not trying to do), one thing is certain: his viewpoint is stupid. Animals have been on this planet longer than us and I guarantee some of them produced more methane than 1 trillion cows. What about dinosaur? I'm sure there could be a lot of hot air coming from their derriere.

RE: Hahaha
By jgvandemeer on 9/10/2008 7:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there's nowhere near a trillion cows on the planet. Maybe a billion or two. One cow can feed a LOT of people.

Oh, and termites produce more methane than cows and people put together.

RE: Hahaha
By Fireshade on 9/11/2008 9:07:30 AM , Rating: 2
Animals have been on this planet longer than us and I guarantee some of them produced more methane than 1 trillion cows. What about dinosaur? I'm sure there could be a lot of hot air coming from their derriere.

Actually, with cows most of the methane comes from belching from one of their stomaches.
By the way, kangaroos would be a good substitute, because they don't belch. In Australia there are plenty of kangaroo farms, and I hear kangaroos are excellent for steaks and burgers.
So we still don't have to cut down on red meat ;)

RE: Hahaha
By omnicronx on 9/11/2008 9:12:05 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe dingos? Two birds with one stone, meat, and stop them from taking our babies!

RE: Hahaha
By Flunk on 9/13/2008 3:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, if Kangaroo meat tastes good and isn't too expensive I'm all in for that.

RE: Hahaha
By omnicronx on 9/11/2008 9:10:56 AM , Rating: 2
Animals have been on this planet longer than us and I guarantee some of them produced more methane than 1 trillion cows.
Cows, along with goats sheep and other animals classified as ruminants all digest their food in a different way. Unlike humans and most other animals, they digest their food in their four stomachs instead of in their intestines.

Basically they eat their food, regurgitate and throw it back up and eat it again. This along with the bacteria that helps digest the food, creates a large amount of methane in which they mostly burping or beltching and a smaller amount through.. you guessed it.. passing gas.

This unique way of digesting food is unique to these kinds of animals. Scientists estimate that each cow expels 200-500 liters of methane a day, that's comparable to well over a the pollution that a car expels in a day.

There are approximately 1.5 billion cows alone in the world, I really doubt that at any one time, that any group of animal on earth has created even close to as much methane as cows expel each year.

RE: Hahaha
By MrPickins on 9/11/2008 10:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
What about the American Bison (before the hunts) or the vast herds on the savannas of Africa? Not all ruminants are domestic animals, you know...

RE: Hahaha
By jgvandemeer on 9/11/2008 11:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
I really doubt that at any one time, that any group of animal on earth has created even close to as much methane as cows expel each year.
Termites produce a LOT more methane each year than cows. Yeah, there'll smaller, but they're's a hundred thousand times as many as cows.

RE: Hahaha
By d0gb0y on 9/11/2008 2:47:11 PM , Rating: 5
There are approximately 1.5 billion cows alone in the world

Sounds like we need a cow dating service...

RE: Hahaha
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/11/2008 3:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
I am a member of PETA: People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.

I think if the problem is too much livestock, we ought to do our part by eating MORE of it, not LESS! How short-sighted can these people be?!

RE: Hahaha
By someguy123 on 9/9/2008 10:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
seriously. some of these extreme environmentalists don't seem to realize their perfect world would consist of us in caves farming wheat.....or they expect that THAT is how the world should be.

bet this vegetarian wouldn't be quite as supportive if they found CO2 emissions were decreased with MORE meat consumption.

RE: Hahaha
By borismkv on 9/10/2008 2:24:00 AM , Rating: 2
They also don't seem to realize that you would have to kill off over half of the world's population for it to be even remotely feasible.

RE: Hahaha
By MrPickins on 9/11/2008 10:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, some of the more extreme are actively wishing for just that.

RE: Hahaha
By Jedi2155 on 9/14/2008 1:33:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear war whoooo!!!!

RE: Hahaha
By borismkv on 9/10/2008 2:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
Oh...Even better. By eating only vegetables, he's consuming greater quantities of the only things on earth that can actually *reduce* CO2 levels in the Atmosphere.

RE: Hahaha
By mindless1 on 9/10/2008 5:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
That's faulty logic. By consuming the veggies, a demand is created, thus they are being planted meaning they are reducing CO2 by existing. That is, if we ignored the other CO2 production inherant in farming and food distribution. The remaining question is what if neither livestock or veggies were being grown, if the land were never cleared in the first place.

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