Climate Change and Meat Consumption

Eat less meat to fight climate change: UN expert

LONDON (AFP) – People should cut their consumption of meat to help combat climate change, a top United Nations expert told a British Sunday newspaper.

Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told The Observer that people should start by having one meat-free day per week then cut back further.

The 68-year-old Indian economist, who is a vegetarian, said diet change was important in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental problems associated with rearing cattle and other animals.

“Give up meat for one day (per week) initially, and decrease it from there,” he said.

“In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity.”

Other small-scale lifestyle changes would also help to combat climate change, he said without elaborating.

“That’s what I want to emphasise: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy.”

Pachauri is due to give a speech in London on Monday under the title: “Global Warning: the impact of meat production and consumption on climate change”.

Pachauri, who was re-elected for a second term six-year term as IPCC chairman last week, has headed the organisation since 2002 and oversaw its seminal assessment report in 2007 which gave graphic forecasts of the risks posed by global warming.

The IPCC warned then that without action the planet’s rising temperatures could unleash potentially catastrophic change to earth’s climate system, leading to hunger, drought, storms and massive species loss.

The organisation also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 along with former US vice president Al Gore.

Article Source:
Sat Sep 6, 11:16 PM ET

On the topic of Al Gore, not once did he mention the vegetarian diet in his film, nor is he willing to even discuss it publicly.  Someone needs to get on his case about this!

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  • JohnnySensible (32 comments)
    September 11, 2008 at 5:49 am

    I was remembering this quote earlier today as I sat with a lactose intolerant Chinese friend – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance – who had just purchased a very cheesy & piggy pizza.

    So I searched back & found where I had posted it in the Forum before – so that I could share it once again here –

    From “So Shall We Reap” – by Colin Tudge – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Tudge

    + [The] food chain we have now is not designed to feed people. In line with the modern cure-all—the allegedly free global market — it is designed to produce the maximum amount of cash in the shortest time. Stated thus, our approach to our most important material endeavour seems unbelievably crass—but that is how things are nonetheless. The global free market might be good for some things (perhaps we get better computers and warships that way) but for farming, and hence for humanity as a whole, it is disastrous. The simplistic business rules that may (or may not) apply to other enterprises are fatal to Enlightened Agriculture and so, since we depend on agriculture absolutely, they are proving fatal for us.

    When cash rules, sound biology goes to the wall and common sense and humanity are for wimps. The goal must be to maximize whatever is most expensive — which means livestock. So now we feed well over half the staples that could be feeding us, to cattle, pigs, and poultry. So instead of helping us to feed ourselves, our animals compete with us.

    By 2050, on present trends, the world’s livestock will consume enough to feed four billion people—equal to the total population of the early 1970s, when the United Nations held its first international conference to discuss the world’s food crisis.

    That livestock will mostly be consumed by people already weighed down with too much saturated fat—for the moment mostly in the west, but increasingly in India and China. The poor will remain poor. So will most farmers. The traders and their shareholders will grow rich. For this, forests are felled and the last of the world’s fresh water is squandered—for example on the soya of Brazil, grown to feed the cattle of Europe and now their biggest agricultural earner. +

  • dbowland (7 comments)
    September 12, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Although I can’t agree with the anti-capitalist bent to the comments, I am appreciative of JohnnySensible for bringing the fundamental facts of hsi post to light. On average 20 veggies can be fed on the same land that 1 omnivore can eating the SAD (standard american diet). Anyone concerned about poverty and feeding the hungry that finds out this little known fact would certianly consider eating veg. I try to get this info out as much as possible. On al gore – he is a hypocrite as he lives with a carbon footprint 20X that of the average american so don’t expect much from him.
    Eat your greens, lead a healthy and loving life and others will be intrigued.


  • JohnnySensible (32 comments)
    September 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    There is sane & insane capitalism.

    The SAD diet is quickly spreading new diseases into Asian cities – the growing number of McDonalds / Pizza Huts / K.F.C.’s etc. will maim & prematurely kill a lot of people – this is “quiet” insane capitalist aggression against Asia coming mainly from the US.

    Dairy products are the most damaging.


    Dairy Intolerance in China

    Foods Matter, January 2007 – As part of a group of UK Nuffield farm scholars Emma Hockridge travelled to China last July to try to gain a better knowledge of Chinese farming practices. Her report appeared in the July/September Food Magazine and we thought that FM readers would be particularly interested in her comments on the dairy industry and lactose intolerance.

    ‘Dairy farming may seem out of place in a country where lactose intolerance is very common, but government officials who led our visit skipped over this point (along with many others) telling us that such dietary intolerance only affects around 10% of the population. Although there are no official figures, studies have indicated that lactose intolerance affects around 30% of Chinese children, and a study of Chinese adults showed that 92.3% suffered from some level of lactose malabsorption.

    Despite this there is a huge push to encourage Chinese people to drink more milk. It is advertised as important for good health, the government funds milk-rounds to schools and the state-run television has aired programs on the benefits of milk drinking. Many of the world’s top dairy companies have entered China as a result of seeing the huge potential market of 1.3 billion inhabitants – though many of these companies find it hard to find reliable and hygienic supplies of raw milk in China itself. Animal welfare is not an important issue in China. When cage sizes of EU battery hens were explained one government representative said, “in China we could use this to raise cattle”.

    Such attitudes were in force at the region’s largest dairy farm where a herd of 3,000 Friesian cattle (the average UK herd is around 90 cows) was kept on concrete floors in 90% humidity and in temperatures of 34ºC, shackled to short chains. It was not surprising that we saw widespread evidence of lameness and mastitis.’

  • kindlizard (5 comments)
    September 15, 2008 at 1:55 am

    I knew Gore ignored it in his movie which is why I ignored his movie. The real inconvenient truth; if he wants a political future, it would be pretty dumb to tell America to not eat their good ol American crap, crap on a stick, and crap on a shingle. The big worldwide festival they put on w/ solar power and whatever fell short, too, since they didn’t switch the venues (at least Giants stadium) to a vegan menu.

    One of the main reasons I went veg was on a road trip I saw the devastated lands along the way across country. Lush green right outside the fence where overpacked cattle overgraze the same stripped land for decades. Does NOT seem balanced. Imagine the devastation we don’t see; the Amazon being logged for McD’s grazing land. disgusting (not to mention the water, soil, fish, and all the other elements that suffer extremely due to damn industry)

  • kindlizard (5 comments)
    September 15, 2008 at 1:56 am

    btw, Bill Maher did and does get on Gore’s case…

  • Chia (326 comments)
    September 23, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    The most obvious is sometimes the least obvious… or maybe it’s just too inconvenient to corporations and people who are comfortable with their dietary habits to make changes.

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