Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meat and Dairy Jeopardise Our Future

Meat is Not Green

Green Debate : Meat Vs Cars

The discussion about meat and it's contribution to climate change is hotting up.

Last year a major report into the environmental impact of meat eating by the Food Climate Research Network at Surrey University claimed livestock generated 8 per cent of UK emissions. It also said vegetarian diets that included lots of milk, butter and cheese would probably not noticeably reduce emissions because dairy cows are a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas released through flatulence.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.

His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning.

Pachauri, who was re-elected the panel's chairman for a second six-year term last week, said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century.

Pachauri is currently on a world tour having spoken to the EVU in Europe and then as guest of CIWF in London. His interview in the Observer has travelled to the other side of the world and has prompted debate in India, USA, New Zealand, Australia and practically everywhere else.

In Latin America, the FAO estimates that some 70% of former forest cover has been converted for grazing.

Meanwhile farmers in the UK have had a great idea - they are going to start feeding cattle a new carbon friendlier diet! You'll never have guessed - it's called grass!

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