If you answered ‘animal agriculture’ or ‘livestock production’ (essentially, meat and dairy production) to the question above, you were right. I wrote about a study on this matter many moons ago, on Planetsave and on a couple of other Important Media sites. An article on the study, Livestock and Climate Change, was published in the journal World Watch and was quickly attacked by the livestock industry. Some tried to publish a critique of the study (including co-authors of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study Livestock’s Long Shadow, which found that 18% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions came from livestock production), but none were able to do a good enough job to get such a critique published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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The bottom line seems to be that there’s good evidence showing that 51% or more of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production, and one of the easiest and quickest things we can do to combat global warming is cut (or cut down on) the meat and dairy products we eat.
An anonymous person closely connected with Livestock and Climate Change recently let me know that the authors of that report have a new article about to be published in the cattlemen-friendly journal Animal Feed Science and Technology (AFST). The new article, Livestock and greenhouse has emissions: The importance of getting the numbers right, “essentially explains how our work is more reliable than Livestock’s Long Shadow.” Surprising that a cattlemen-friendly journal would publish such a piece!
Simplifying and Communicating to the Masses
I think everyone knows that academic papers can easily sit unread and, thus, unhelpful to the masses who could learn something from them. Some good news in this story, however, is that Anhang, Goodland, and others are working to put their findings into more a useful package… or two. And they’re looking to raise awareness about this issue.
They’ve launched a website called Chomping Climate Change and the video below. Check the site and video out and share them (or this piece) with your green and non-green friends! It’s mighty hard to create necessary change if we don’t help educate each other.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on your favorite social network, go to: zacharyshahan.com