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 – http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/4/planId/15201.
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.