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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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By hellokeith on 9/10/2008 3:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
While it is true that exercise plays a key role in health, the American diet is filled to the brim with unnecessary weight gainers. Look at the ingredients label to pretty much anything you purchase at the store, and you will see: high xxxxtose syrup, eggs, whey, milk solids, milkfat, butter, cheese, beef stock, chicken stock, and animal fats. You would not believe how prevalent animal products are in everyday foods.

And Michael is correct, it is very difficult to get fat on celery and carrots. Even vegetables which are high in oils (like avocados) pale in comparison to your average burger or fast-food animal fat french fries.

And no, there are no detriments to a well-balanced vegan diet. That is a myth propagated by uneducated meat eaters.

By Kefner on 9/10/2008 3:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
high xxxxtose syrup, eggs, whey, milk solids, milkfat, butter, cheese, beef stock, chicken stock, and animal fats

mmmmm, all my favorite food groups, now I'm hungry!

By SoCalBoomer on 9/10/2008 3:44:06 PM , Rating: 3
There are some detriments - you just have to supplement your way around them. There are quite a few aminos or vitamins that don't come naturally in vegetables - Taurine, for instance, comes in red meat and is used in tissue recovery. You don't get it without supplenting. B12 (as mentioned in the article you cited) comes in animal or animal products so a Vegan diet would need to supplement to make it up.

My problem with Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles is actually twofold - 1. that they tend to be activistic and to try and influence others to join them (TEND, not always but tendency) and 2. They are inherently imbalanced for a race that is biologically omnivorous. We need certain things that just are not available in plants OR are only available in certain plants which are not available everywhere. . .

in any case - you stick with your Vegan and absolutely, more power to you! I have friends who are Vegan or Vegetarian and I'll happily eat a cheese sammy if I'm out to eat with you. (as close as I'll come! LOL)

Cheers! (thank goodness beer is Vegan/Vegetarian/Omni! :D )

By mindless1 on 9/10/2008 6:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
yes, actually there are detriments. Only someone who is not very active and has low muscle mass can get enough calories and protein without eating extreme amounts of food (unless they turn around and put fat and suger on everything).

The supposed 2700 calorie for day recommendation for a male for example, is only a maintenance level for a thin geek-looking 18 year old body type. A full grown healthy male will have to be consuming more. Where do all these vegetables come from?

Do you realize how many beans and potatoes, veggies which are far higher than average in veggie calorie density, it takes to reach 3000 calories or more? Do you realize we simply do not HAVE enough vegetables for everyone to stop eating meat? Never forget that one of our meat sources is the ocean, it's not so simple as just saying we should convert the cattle farm feed crops into human feed crops.

By tmouse on 9/15/2008 10:35:41 AM , Rating: 2
The point is you have to actively work achieve a balanced diet. We are in fact omnivores; you can live as a vegetarian or even a pure carnivore if you are willing to work to achieve the balance. I will not deny, on average people eat more meat than we should, but since we are not designed to live on vegetable matter alone (no extra stomachs, too short of a digestive track, lack of specific enzymes, no symbiotic organisms for cellulose digestion or re digestion of our own waste) the amount of land to maintain even half of our population on a balanced vegan diet would devastate the planet. Genetics is also a major factor, high HDL and you have no worries about cholesterol (which is critical for our cell structure), similarly too low a level and you have very serious health problems also. More fat is generated from eating simple plant products in the form of the simple sugars than from animal fat, it’s probably the fries and soda and ketchup contributing to the overweight problems far more than the burgers. Balance is the best path.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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