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Kathy Freston: The Breathtaking Effects Of Cutting Back On Meat

Consume these vegetarian statistics with a grain of salt:

‘If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
● 70 million gallons of gas–enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
● 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.’

via Kathy Freston: The Breathtaking Effects Of Cutting Back On Meat.

Committee on Energy and Commerce – Chairmen Waxman, Markey Release Discussion Draft of New Clean Energy Legislation

Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee today released a draft of clean energy legislation that will create jobs, help end our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and combat global warming. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy. [editor’s  strikethrough – coal isn’t clean or new]

via Committee on Energy and Commerce – Chairmen Waxman, Markey Release Discussion Draft of New Clean Energy Legislation.

Highlights:
● Calls for 6% renewable energy by 2012 and 25% by 2025.

● Clean fuels and vehicles. Includes biofuels.

● Smart Electricity Grid.

● This ‘clean energy’ bill draft includes support for developing carbon capture and sequestration as a means to “ensure a continuing place for coal in our nation’s energy future”. Perhaps it’s better just to leave the coal in ground in the first place and avoid a whole host of problems.

Excerpt from the draft summary:

“Carbon Capture and Sequestration. The draft promotes development of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies to ensure a continuing place for coal in our nation’s energy future. CCS is a method of reducing global warming pollution by capturing and injecting underground the carbon dioxide emitted from electricity generation plants that use fossil fuels.”

Copenhagen Climate Congress: John Ashton

Copenhagen, Denmark March 10, 2009

Repeatedly sounded was the ‘what we have here is a failure to communicate‘ theme. John Ashton addressed this concern at a press conference at the Climate Congress:

“Words mean different things. The word ‘uncertainty’ to a politician often means, come back and tell me when you know whether this a problem or not and that’s when I’ll look into it. Uncertainty to a scientist often mean there’s a signal, but there’s an error, an uncertainty in the amplitude of that signal. We don’t know quite how big that is, it may be four and it may be six, and there are plenty of people in the political world, who are quite happy to abuse the rigor that scientists bring to the ways in which they communicate, to serve political purposes which are not necessarily those which the communicators were intending to serve. Politics is a shark infested sea in that sense. My conclusion is, the more effort that people put into understanding not just what they are trying to say, but how it will be heard, how it might be manipulated and made mischief out of, the better the communication will be. Because in the end, we need a much better sense in our society of the urgency of this problem – we haven’t begun to close the gap between what the climate tells us we need to do and what we feel we’re capable of doing.”


See the full text of John Ashton’s plenary address.

Other speakers also contributed to the ‘failure to communicate theme’, including: Professor Lord Nicolas Stern, March 12, “One of the reasons they [the economists] got it wrong is because you [the scientists] didn’t tell them loudly and clearly enough”

Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food – NYTimes.com

‘The maker of Stone-Buhr flour, a popular brand in the western United States, is encouraging its customers to reconnect with their lost agrarian past, from the comfort of their computer screens. Its Find the Farmer Web site and special labels on the packages let buyers learn about and even contact the farmers who produced the wheat that went into their bag of flour.

The underlying idea, broadly called traceability, is in fashion in many food circles these days. Makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods are also using the Internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers, mimicking the once-close ties that were broken long ago by industrialized food manufacturing.’

via Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food – NYTimes.com.

An Almost-Meatless Diet – Well Blog – NYTimes.com

More on the meat issue:

‘A recent report from The Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular eaters of red meat had a modestly higher risk of dying during a 10-year study period than those who ate very little meat. And beyond personal health, many people are finding other reasons to eat less meat. Several reports now say meat consumption contributes to global warming, and regular reports about animal cruelty and the meat industry have caused many people to lose their appetite for meat.’

via An Almost-Meatless Diet – Well Blog – NYTimes.com.

Meat vs. Climate: The Debate Continues – Green Inc. Blog – NYTimes.com

‘At least since a 2006 United Nations report asserted that livestock is responsible for a full 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — a higher percentage than that caused by transportation — a debate over meat consumption and climate change has been cooking.

The latest round involves a recent editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine by Barry M. Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina. In it, Mr. Popkin revisits several studies linking meat not just with heart disease and other health issues, but also with worldwide consumption of energy and water resources — and global warming.

Water use, Mr. Popkin writes, is two to five times greater worldwide for animal-source food than for basic crops such as legumes and grains. He further argues that livestock production accounts for 55 percent of the erosion process in the United States and is also responsible for one-third of the total discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous to surface water.’

via Meat vs. Climate: The Debate Continues – Green Inc. Blog – NYTimes.com.