Search Results for "gerard" — 5 articles

Radical Natural Climate Solutions

Friday, November 16th, 2012

In the lead up to COP18, climate scientists are desperate for solutions, but few countries are willing to take bold action.  The world is on track for 6° warming: we have reached a point where radical and affordable solutions to fix our climate are urgently needed.  The solutions described here are low cost, natural and solve both short and long term global warming.


The double edged sword: A quick-fix for global warming

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The closer we look at livestock production, the more we discover that it is truly a double-edged sword.  On one hand we have the damaging health, climate and environmental effects, and on the other hand, we are now finding that the short-lived emissions from livestock may give us a quick fix for global warming – the solution many climate scientists have been desperately seeking.

WPF scientists recently published a paper in the International Journal of Climate Change that explains how steep reductions in livestock production will be the most effective way to slow warming in the next decades, by at least 2°C.  Here’s the paper and press release.

Not only is livestock shown to be a quick-fix, the paper also highlights the work of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency that looked at long-term climate fix – the cost of mitigating global warming.  It works out that returning the world’s pastures (a quarter of the land surface) to grow trees, woodland and native perennial grasses, will soak up at least 20 years of carbon emissions.

This approach is also the lowest cost option, coming in a just 20% of the cost of the alternatives – a cheap option that will be taken more seriously as the climate chaos continues.

These ideas also won an award with the MIT Climate CoLab project to find climate solutions –

Bill Gates agrees – here is a mobile phone video where he predicts that plant protein foods will be a part of the mainstream dialogue within 5 years, and an enormous business opportunity.

Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop

Global warming can be kept below 2C affordably through steep reductions in livestock production

Friday, June 8th, 2012


Global warming can be kept below 2C affordably through steep reductions in livestock production.


A new paper published in the International Journal of Climate Change by World Preservation Foundation (WPF) scientists finds that keeping global average temperature increases low enough to protect vulnerable nations and avoid crossing dangerous tipping points is possible by sharply reducing livestock production, which is a leading cause of shorter-lived climate forcers, and that this approach can reduce climate change mitigation costs up to 80 percent by 2050.


London, 5 June 2012 – A paper by WPF scientists published in the International Journal of Climate Change states that by addressing the largest source of shorter-lived climate forcers, livestock production, can help limit global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.  Reducing livestock production and returning pastures to native forests, woodlands and grasslands is the most affordable and effective means of achieving this goal.    

“Shorter Lived Climate Forcers: Agriculture Sector and Land Clearing for Livestock” expands on a June 2011 report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) titled “Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone.” 

“The UNEP-WMO assessment is important because it highlights that CO2 alone will not keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius because CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries.    If we limit black carbon, methane and ground level ozone, we can slow the heating in just a few years, averting dangerous tipping points.” WPF Executive Director Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop states.

Building on the work of UNEP-WMO, the WPF paper identifies livestock production as the largest human caused source of black carbon, methane and also the best means of controlling ground level ozone.  It further describes how steep cuts in livestock production could deliver up to 33% less methane, 30% less black carbon, and 33% less tropospheric ozone.

The combined effects of these reductions are projected to result in quickly halting the pace of climate change by reversing short term heating, as well as reducing long-term heating through the subsequent capture of carbon dioxide through reforestation.

Steep cuts in livestock production also bring longer-term climate benefits through the reduction of annual CO2 emissions of between 27 and 38 percent due to reductions in deforestation and open fires.   Around 20 years’ worth of legacy carbon dioxide emissions already in the atmosphere could also be captured and stored through re-vegetation and soil carbon re-stocking.

According to WPF Director Mark Galvin, there are significant financial benefits as well.  He states “The most viable option of addressing climate change and other environmental threats like biodiversity loss, deforestation and water scarcity is to move away from animal products.   The climate change mitigation costs alone can be reduced by up to 80 percent if all animal products are eliminated. This equates to a saving of US$32 trillion off the estimated US$40 trillion cost of mitigating climate change.”

He also stated that a 2009 Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency study found that up to 2,700 million hectares of pasture and 100 million ha of cropland would be freed up, resulting in a large carbon uptake from re-growing vegetation, in addition to the substantial methane and nitrous oxide emission reductions.

“Although most approaches to addressing the climate change impacts of livestock focus on capturing methane from manure, we find that the benefits of this approach will be very small because 90 percent of livestock methane emissions are from enteric fermentation.   Substituting livestock products with plant-based sources of nutrition therefore has a far greater impact on climate change,” Wedderburn-Bisshop states.

Reducing livestock also:

  • Sharply reduces global deforestation;
  • Reduces biodiversity loss by up to 60 percent;
  • Substantially reduces water usage;
  • Improves soils and reverses desertification;
  • Reduces up to 60 percent of reactive nitrogen and 65 percent of nitrous oxide.
  • Improves human health through the reversal of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and therefore substantially reduces global healthcare costs.

“The do-nothing scenario on diets predicts that meat and dairy consumption will double by 2050.  This would be an environmental disaster for our planet,”  Galvin emphasized.  “By shifting towards plant-based nutrition, we are embracing a low cost, high impact solution for reversing the most significant environmental challenges of our time on both short- and long-term times scales.”

Galvin also stated: “We recommend that governments divert subsidies from meat and dairy to plant-based alternatives and also promote their climate, environmental and health benefits.  We also call for strong protection on forests, and taxes on the high water usage, emissions and black carbon from the meat and dairy sectors, to truly reflect the environmental cost of these products.”


Notes to editors

Shorter lived climate forcers

Greenhouse emissions are commonly compared by averaging their effect over 100 years.  This is fine for CO2, which lasts for centuries, but is very misleading for short lived emissions.  Over a 20 year period, yearly emissions of just three warming agents: methane, black carbon and tropospheric ozone, heat our world more than yearly carbon dioxide emissions.  Examining global warming potential over 20 years (GWP20) is more realistic because these climate forcers have a short life cycle in the atmosphere.


Methane warms almost as much as CO2 yearly emissions, but with a half-life of just seven years in the atmosphere.  This gives methane a GWP20 72 times that of CO2, more than three times the hundred year warming potential commonly quoted.

Black carbon (soot)

Black carbon lasts from one to four weeks in the atmosphere and has a GWP20 of 1600.  When black carbon lands on ice or snow it has a strong warming effect, responsible for 30% of Arctic warming.  Black carbon from open fires has been found in the Antarctic Peninsula, the fastest warming place on Earth.

Tropospheric Ozone

Tropospheric ozone warms the Earth as much as 20% of the CO2 warming, but it lasts for only 20 days.  The most effective means of reducing tropospheric ozone is by reducing methane.

Legacy carbon dioxide

Deforestation is responsible for 25-30% of global emissions.  60-80% of global deforestation is for livestock pasture and feed crops.

Reforestation and soil carbon re-stocking has the potential to draw down 20 years of CO2 emissions – far more and far cheaper than technical solutions.


For more information please contact:

Kian Tavakkoli, Media Spokesperson, on Tel: +27 (0)738344843
Email: [email protected]

Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop – Tel: +27 (0)782864727
Email: [email protected]

Full paper available at: and other material at


Plant-based lifestyle could save the NHS billions of pounds – Press Release

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011



7 September 2011

CONTACT:  Kian Tavakkoli

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  0044 (0)7985 503906




NGO calls upon UK Government to proactively promote and recommend  a plant-based diet as a solution to rising healthcare costs and rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type II diabetes 

7 September 2011, London, United Kingdom – In a paper distributed to all MPs in the House Magazine entitled, “Plant-Based Diets: A solution to our public health crisis”, leading physicians reveal that a switch to a diet free of meat and dairy products will dramatically reduce the incidence (and therefore the costs) of the most menacing maladies currently threatening public health, such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  London-based NGO, World Preservation Foundation, stated in a letter to the Prime Minister that the Government can take the international lead in the advocacy and implementation of healthier plant-based policies and incentives, setting a benchmark in healthcare, environmental protection and policy innovation.  Acknowledging the challenge of  protecting and improving public health, whilst managing escalating costs in the NHS, WPF has set out proposed measures it believes the Government can implement to meet this challenge.

Chronic diseases are skyrocketing in the UK as insufficient consideration is given to dietary choices and the main cause of these diseases.  Current data shows over 60% of the population is overweight or obese.  Cardiovascular disease alone kills nearly 200,000 people in the UK every year and costs over £30 billion.  The paper details how these chronic diseases can be treated with a simple change in diet.

Leading physician and researcher, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, who directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, USA, stated:    “We are potentially on the cusp of what could be a seismic revolution in health.  This will never come about from another pill, another procedure, another operation, or construction of another cardiac cathedral.  It will come about when we are able to show the public the lifestyle that will halt and eliminate 75% of these common, chronic killing diseases.   The most essential component of this lifestyle is whole food plant-based nutrition.” 

Dr Esselstyn’s paper states:

“I initiated a long term study that treated seriously ill patients with coronary artery disease  with plant-based nutrition and succeeded in the arrest and reversal of their disease …  Patients lose weight, blood pressure normalizes, and type 2 diabetes improves or resolves, as do angina, erectile dysfunction, and peripheral vascular and carotid disease.“  Dr Esselstyn goes on to say:. “Sadly, today our adolescents are but a decade or 2 away from compounding this epidemic.  It is time to tell the truth. Family history and genetic background do not cause this illness. It is not the luck of the draw. It is a matter of personal action and responsibility. Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.”


While politicians struggle with mounting NHS costs, a solution to these chronic public health threats is easily at hand.  If the Government were to provide public education on the direct link between the disease epidemic and a diet heavy in meat and dairy products, the cost burden would be reduced automatically with lifestyle changes.  Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sums it up nicely, “Many people still have no idea that food choices make such an enormous difference. Not only can healthier choices tackle the obesity epidemic; they also help us reverse heart disease, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of other major health problems. Now is the time to spread the word far and wide.”

Also featured in the paper is Dr Joel Fuhrman, Director of Research for Nutritional Research Project for the National Health Association, New Jersey, who states that “The cure for type II diabetes is already known – removing the cause can reverse the disease, and the chief cause is excess weight from the Western diet and inactivity. The best and safest “medicine” for a diabetic is a high-nutrient density (HND) diet: focused on low-calorie, nutrient-rich plant foods and exercise.  Weight loss is effective in itself, but the goal of lifestyle intervention must be to improve pancreatic function and lower insulin resistance over and above what could be accomplished with weight loss alone. An HND diet can accomplish this; by emphasizing micronutrient adequacy, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure are lowered as weight is lost and blood glucose drops. We have extensive experience treating overweight diabetics with superior nutrition and the results are impressive. The majority are able to restore their glucose levels to the normal range without any further need for medications. They have essentially become non-diabetic again.”


Dr Fuhrman highlighted: “New dietary guidelines emphasizing nutrient-rich plant foods can enable modern populations to dramatically improve their health, dramatically reduce healthcare costs, while at the same time save millions of needless deaths from heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes.  It is time for an evolution in healthcare where prevention via proper diet, not drugs, becomes the foundation of modern healthcare.”

World Preservation Foundation is calling for more than just mild suggestions to eat more fruits and vegetables.  With definitive evidence that a plant-based diet can be a direct and cost effective solution to chronic disease, WPF is asking the Government to lead by example and to initiate nationwide incentives and campaigns for a societal shift towards more plant-based nutrition.  According to Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, WPF Executive Director, “Advanced nutrition science has provided us with the simple and cost effective solution of a wholesome plant-based diet for preventing and even reversing these diet related diseases.  People can make an informed choice when they know the full facts and that needless suffering and loss of loved ones can be avoided to a large extent.”

He added “Bill Clinton made the change to a plant-based diet after having stint surgery.  He knew about the advantages of plant-based diets, but made the change for his daughter Chelsea’s wedding – he wanted to be alive and healthy for his grandchildren.”


Notes to the Editor:

WPF assimilates, documents and presents scientific data relating to climate change; including deforestation, disease, drought and global hunger.  It serves as an access-point for information to assist media and concerned parties to engage these topics and to encourage governments, public bodies and other institutions to introduce beneficial legislation and policies resulting in the subsequent mitigation of climate change and minimization of associated human, planetary and economic costs; also safeguarding water supplies, preserving forests, minimizing environmental degradation, improving health and alleviating global food shortages.

The WPF paper, ‘Plant-based Diets: A Solution to Our Public Health Crisis’ can be accessed here:

Shorter Lived Climate Forcers: Agriculture Sector and Land Clearing for Livestock

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

In this video presentation, Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, World Preservation Foundation Senior Scientist, puts forward the case for how, with the devastating effects of climate change being felt ever-more quickly and with increasing intensity, the importance of embracing fast-acting solutions to mitigate climate change has increased dramatically.

In recent years, greater understanding of climate science has advanced considerably, and scientists and even policy makers now recognise that climate change in the short term is being driven by extremely potent, shorter-lived climate forcers. By reducing these climate forcers — namely black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone — cooling begins rapidly.

Globally, the production of meat and dairy are significant contributors of these fast warming agents with far reaching consequences on planetary warming and environmental devastation. These include the major effects of black carbon due to biomass burning, on West Antarctica as well as the tropical monsoons; deforestation; soil carbon loss; and, food and water security. It’s estimated that 47% to 60% of the black carbon reaching West Antarctica and causing rapid melting is due to biomass burning resulting from livestock pasture management.

CO2 from pasture maintenance fires, reforestation of pastures and soil carbon uptake on relief of grazing pressure may also play a part in a fast-acting solution to the climate crisis.

This video is a synopsis of the paper Gerard wrote that examines the contributions of agriculture, namely livestock farming, to planetary warming through the shorter-lived climate forcers, and the effect of animal agriculture abatement on alleviating global warming and environmental collapse. We also propose four policy measures to immediately reduce the shorter-lived warming agents.

(By: Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop: Senior Scientist, World Preservation Foundation )

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