Posts Tagged ‘meat’

Methane reduction should take precedence as climate change mitigation strategy, rather than risky geoengineering projects

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Given that only half of global warming is due to CO2, while another half is caused mainly by methane, world-leading scientists such as Professor of Global Environmental Health Kirk Smith and NASA’s  Prof. James Hansen call for methane reduction strategies, for instance through reducing livestock, to be implemented rather than risky and untried geoengineering carbon sequestration strategies.

Dr Smith writes:

“One tonne of methane is responsible for nearly 100 times more warming over the first five years of its lifetime in the atmosphere than a tonne of CO2. Methane is removed from the atmosphere much more rapidly than CO2, with a half-life of 8.5 years compared with many decades for CO2.”

According to NASA article entitled “Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario“, co-authored by Professor Hansen:

“Rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O), not by the products of fossil fuel burning. If sources of Methane and Ozone (O3) precursors were reduced in the future, the change in climate forcing by non-CO2 GHGs in the next 50 years could be near zero.”

Source: Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario NASA site – abbreviated versionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – full article

Date: 2001

Source: Methane controls before risky geoengineering, please – Dr Kirk Smith New Scientist Magazine – article previewGoodPlanet.info – full article

Date: 25 June 2009

Methane to have the greatest effect on global warming in the next 20 years, with CO2 accounting for less than half

Monday, March 29th, 2010

While less than half of the warming in the next 20 years will be caused by CO2, other gases such as methane, and black carbon particles (soot) will have the greatest effect.

According to Professor Kirk Smith, writing in the New Scientist Magazine:

“Less than half of the total warming expected over the next 20 years will be caused by CO2. Methane, along with other gases such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and black carbon particles, will cause most of the changes.”

Source: Methane controls before risky geoengineering, please – Dr Kirk Smith New Scientist Magazine – article previewGoodPlanet.info – full article

Date: 25 June 2009

Source: Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario NASA site – abbreviated versionProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – full article

Date: 2001

Livestock produce 37% of human-induced methane

Monday, March 29th, 2010

The livestock sector produces 37% of all human-induced methane (a much more strongly warming greenhouse agent than CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants such as cattle. In addition, livestock are responsible for 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide(N2O), another powerful GHG.

The UN’s Livestock’s Long Shadow report also states:

“Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.”

Source: Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns – UN News Centre

Date: 29 November 2006

Source: Livestock’s Long Shadow (UN FAO) – Full Report

Date: 2006

Livestock production produces 65% of all nitrous oxide (296 times more warming than CO2)

Monday, March 29th, 2010

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report Livestock’s Long Shadow, livestock account for a substantial proportion of global anthropogenic emissions; generating 65% of human-related nitrous oxide (N2O), which is 296 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Some of this can be from the soils of cattle pasture, as the report states:

“[In the case of Brazil] At the same time, methane emissions from enteric fermentation strongly dominate the country’s total methane emission, owing to the extensive beef cattle population. For this same reason pasture soils produce the highest nitrous oxide emissions in Brazil, with an increasing contribution from manure. If livestock’s role in land-use change is included, the contribution of the livestock sector to the total greenhouse gas emission of this very large country can be estimated to be as high as 60 percent, i.e. much higher than the 18 percent at world level (Table 3.12).

Globally, livestock activities contribute two-thirds of all anthropogenic and 75–80 percent of agricultural emissions of nitrous oxide, the most potent of the three major greenhouse gases.

Source: Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns – UN News Centre

Date: 29 November 2006

Source: Livestock’s Long Shadow (UN FAO) – Full Report

Date: 29 November 2006

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Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010

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Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report

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Livestock's Climate Impact

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Livestock & Sustainable Food

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Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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