There is more disturbing evidence of climate change shows glacial melt rates have increased in the last four years. In the meantime, the discussions on climate change continue and continue; hoping for a resolution by the end of 2009 to bring about the post-Kyoto agreement. Although there are some countries that are lagging behind; hello USA federal govt :-) Actually that is a bit harsh, as the US government is doing things to reduce greenhouse gases, however the executive office appears beholden to certain lobbyists and industries which feel that putting a cost on CO2 is not in their best interests.
The Australian federal government has announced that it has submitted its initial report on climate change to the UN some nine months early. The purpose of the initial report is to state what greenhouse gas emission data exists for the country, and the methodology for measuring the emissions so that progress in reducing greenhouse gases can be monitored. The details of the report can be found at the Australian Office of Climate Change. The report (Initial Report) is quite readable and instructive as to where Australia's greenhouse gases come from. Note all figures quoted are from this report, which is based on 2005 data.
We have all been informed that in order to combat climate change some sacrifices will be needed, there will be costs involved, and we should expect to do our part. One particular strategy is not ever mentioned, but is quite simple really, is to have a vegetarian diet. My reasoning is based on the figures from the above report, and the more Detailed Report which contains the breakdown of sources. For details of the units and gases measured in the following discussion, see the Detailed Report, General Notes section on page five.
Note in the Initial Report mentioned above in Part 1 Table 1 (page 3) the contribution of agriculture is 87,648.17 Gg (Giga grams. One giga gram = 1,000 tonnes) or 87.64817 Mt (mega tonnes) of CO2 -e (equivalent, includes carbon dioxide as well as other gases.) As stated, this represents 16% of Australia's total emissions. Reading the Detailed Report 71% of the agriculture emissions comes from livestock. This is some 63.7Mt of CO2-e, primarily from methane. This amount of 63.7 million tonnes is pretty close to the amount emitted for road transportation (71.056Mt)
So, in a vegetarian world, you could drive your SUVs quite happily.
Better still, drive a more fuel efficient car, and be vegetarian, and you can double your effectiveness in combating climate change.