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The UN treats us to good news... and bad

Among all the debate on global warming, The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has long been one of the loudest voices. Despite accusations of bias and political motivations, the IPCC has been persuasive in getting many governments to pass environmental legislation.

So when the IPCC releases a new report, downgrading man's impact on the environment by 25% (and lowing predictions of temperature and sea level rise by 50%), one would think this good news would make headline news across the nation. Think otherwise. Such happy news apparently isn't fit for public consumption, according to our mass media.

The media has been even less forthcoming with the details of another UN report, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow. This 400 page report expresses what people who study global warming have long since known-- that the world cattle population is responsible for some 18% of all greenhouse gases, a larger contribution than planes, trains, automobiles, and all other forms of transportation combined.

The report also blames livestock farming for over 100 other polluting gases, including the number one source of ammonia, a major contributor to acid rain. It further blames ranching for deforestation, and ends with a slap at the massive amounts of drinking water used to feed cattle herds, which presumably is taking water from the mouths of thirsty children.

So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds.



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Bovine Flatulence
By Spyvie on 12/14/2006 12:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
All we need to do is genetically alter the livestock’s feed to include the active ingredient in Beano… problem solved.

Are there more cattle on the planet now than there were wild grazing animals 300 years ago? Do domestic cattle produce more methane head for head than a heard of buffalo?




RE: Bovine Flatulence
By Live on 12/15/2006 4:10:49 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is that free going animals contribute much less. Livestock is in many places, especially in the USA and Europe "power" feed with soybeans or similar food imported and transported from countries like Brazil. That means that the production of and transportation of the food the cow, chicken, pigs eat have consumed fossil fuels. The idea is to use cheap energy to quickly raise the animals for slaughter. This way is economical (at least with the current subsidies in US and Europe) but harmful to the environment. Meat from wild and free going animals contributes much less just because their food is not produced. But as mentioned in the report burning down forests to make land for cattle production isn’t really helpful either. So if you are going to eat meat eat wild animals like Deer and rabbits.

While I personally don’t have a problem not eating hamburgers I would find it very hard to give up Tacos and Kebab. But it is perfectly possible to produce food in a much less harmful way albeit more costly. We need to set a price on emissions so we would see local produced food be as competitive as it really is. If we combine that with taking away the subsidies who strongly favors large scale farming with high energy consumption, I will hopefully be able to continue to eat meat. Meat might be murder but its damn tasty.


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