ANIMAL AGRICULTURE: THE FACTS
VOICE: In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had estimated that raising animals for meat and dairy was responsible for 18% of global warming; more than all the world’s transportation put together. However, it is becoming increasingly clear to scientists that the livestock industry is playing a more significant role.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri – Chair of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, VEGETARIAN (M): I’ve received a number of emails from people that I respect saying that the 18% figure is an underestimate; it’s a low estimate and in actual fact it’s much higher.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell – Renowned nutrition researcher, Cornell University, USA, VEGAN (M): I just had some information just recently, that the new figures now indicate that at least half of the greenhouse gases that are up there now, not that 15 or 20%, at least half – and maybe considerably more – are due to livestock production.
VOICE: Greenhouse gasses are emitted during virtually every step of the meat producing process, including the three major greenhouse gasses: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, & methane. However, what is unaccounted for is the fact that instead of the 23 times figure used in most reports, including that of the United Nations, methane is actually 72-100 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period.
Professor Barry Brook University of Adelaide, Australia Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability: (M): If you look at these reports they will suggest it (methane) has about 25 times the impact of CO2. But really when it’s up there in the atmosphere doing its work, it’s 72 times the impact and that makes a big difference.
Noam Mohr – Physicist, New York University Polytechnic Institute, USA, VEGETARIAN (M): Methane is trapping in just 12 years, 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does in a century. If you look in a shorter time scale, and say “how much warming over the next 20 years is this quantity of carbon dioxide going to cause versus this quantity of methane?” Then the methane causes 72 times as much warming as the carbon dioxide over 20 years.
VOICE: At 37% of global methane emissions, livestock is the single largest source of human-caused methane.
Dr. Kirk Smith Professor, University of California – Berkeley, USA (M): Sure we have to deal with CO2 in the long run, but if you want to make an impact on climate in the next 20 years, the place to do it is with the shorter-lived greenhouse gases, most important of which is methane. So, of the emissions in the next 20 years, the CO2 in this year’s emissions will only be about 40% of the total warming. The other 60% or more will be from the shorter-lived gases, most important of which is methane.
VOICE: Livestock has an even larger share of emissions when yet another unaccounted factor is acknowledged: aerosols, or particles released along with CO2 from burning fossil fuels that, despite their detrimental health aspects, actually have a cooling effect.
Noam Mohr – Physicist, New York University Polytechnic Institute, USA, VEGETARIAN (M): So when you burn these fossil fuels, you get carbon dioxide which heats the planet, and aerosols which cool the planet. And the net effect, if you calculate them out, comes out to about zero, they roughly cancel each other out. So the warming we’ve been seeing and are likely to see in the near future is dominated by other sources, the main one of which is methane.
Noam Mohr – Physicist, New York University Polytechnic Institute, USA, VEGETARIAN (M): We have a critical environmental crisis now happening with effects that we’re seeing around the world, and if we want to address the warming we’re seeing now, the best “bang for our buck” comes in addressing the other gases; mostly methane...and its number 1 source, animal agriculture.
Videoconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai
With Bangkok, Thailand Center – July 24, 2008
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Because meat producing causes 80% of global warming, because of related pollution from various angles; transportation, water, deforestation, refrigeration, medical care for animals and humans, and etc., etc. All kinds of pollution coming from meat production. It’s not just the land that they use. It’s not just the methane gas and nitrous oxide that they produce, it is all its by-products; there’s no end to the list. We cannot rely on green technology alone to save the planet. Because the worst cause of it is from the meat industry. Everybody knows it. All the scientists already reported to us.