07 February 2007

Cattle Causing Global Warming?


America's love affair with beef may soon be over.

Thanks to Fran for sending me the link to the United Nations report on livestock regarding livestock's impact on the environment. It took me a while to read it and get it posted. It addresses a wide range of issues including global warming, land degradation, air pollution, water depletion and pollution, and impacts on biodiversity.

As the entire report can be a bit cumbersome, you might read a U.N. news article that gives a brief overview of the report here.

To access a digital copy (pdf format) of the U.N. report "Livestock's Long Shadow, Environmental Issues and Options" click here. This is a must-read for those concerned about the environment. The following is a short excerpt from the report:
"The livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The largest share of this derives from land-use changes – especially deforestation – caused by expansion of pastures and arable land for feedcrops. Livestock are responsible for much larger shares of some gases with far higher potential to warm the atmosphere. The sector emits 37 percent of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2) most of that from enteric fermentation by ruminants. It emits 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (with 296 times the GWP of CO2), the great majority from manure. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.

This high level of emissions opens up large opportunities for climate change mitigation through livestock actions. Intensification – in terms of increased productivity both in livestock production and in feedcrop agriculture – can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and pasture degradation. In addition, restoring historical losses of soil carbon through conservation tillage, cover crops, agroforestry and other measures could sequester up to 1.3 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year, with additional amounts available through restoration of desertified pastures. Methane emissions can be reduced through improved diets to reduce enteric fermentation, improved manure management and biogas – which also provide renewable energy. Nitrogen emissions can be reduced through improved diets and manure management. "

1 comment:

Johnny D said...

Bull Crap!!!