Friday, April 11, 2008

Some more summary information

I don't actually know of a UN report on livestock that specifically states that livestock emissions outweigh all forms of transport combined. This is inferred from the data on greenhouse gas emissions by sector.

The livestock's long shadow is an excellent report that tells you most of the facts you need (Part IV, page 82) for the livestock industry sources in general.

The IPCC probably does not tie together the meat consumption with greenhouse gas directly, which is why we have to explain it to people :) The things to look for are the Agriculture sector, and the Forestry or Land Use Change sector.

The primary gas from the livestock industry is methane (CH4), which cows and sheep produce as part of their natural digestive system (the average cow produces 400 litres of methane per day). The rest comes from manure treatment and some component is the effect grazing animals have on the land itself.

In countries that import their livestock, or are primarily grain fed, the industry has less impact from land use. The IPCC states the emissions from agriculture compared to other sectors in an excellent starting point which is a document for policy makers. In section 2 page 5 of the document there is a pie graph showing the sources of CO2-e from different sector. Agriculture is listed as contributing 13.5%, transport is 13.1%. In Australia the livestock industry makes up 71% of the agriculture sector (agriculture includes plant and animal industries). The figures for Australia are from the Initial Report to the UN 2005 data (submitted last month to the UN).

This is not the full story though, as in countries like Australia and Brazil, most livestock (cattle) are fed from pastures, and not grain fed until their last 100 days. In order to produce grazing pastures, large tracts of land are cleared, which makes up about 90% of the deforestation as well (90% of 17.4% which is 15.66%). So when you add up the cost of the industry, which combines the direct from the animals, and the secondary from the land practice of land clearing, it makes up about 30% in Australia. No livestock, no land clearing.

This is why in the options for agriculture in the Garnaut submission it states there are three options. 1: do nothing (very bad) 2: stop land clearing. 3: stop it all. The stop land clearing is not very practical, as it increases demand on grain supplies, and would be unviable in Australia to do so. Land clearing is much cheaper, which is why it must be included in emissions trading - so that the cost is bourne by the industry, and it would not be cheap any more.

The specifics to Australia come from the "Tripple Bottom Line" report from the CSIRO and University of Sydney, which is referenced in the submission.

The Bruce Poon report provides a very good summary of the CSIRO report, and what it means.

BTW: The submission was written with the objective of highlighting that the agriculture sector has been ignored in discussions to date, and all of the focus has been on electricity generation and vehicle fuel. Livestock emissions are less than electricity, but more than vehicles.

In discussions with persons of importance such as a Director of Climate Change government department, it will be important to state and agree that the #1 problem is coal fired power stations. The second highest emission sector is livestock, followed by transport. Without removing coal fired power stations world wide, global warming will become catastrophic. The removal of livestock will not solve global warming, but it will certainly delay the effects for about 40 years (est to be revised.. probably often). Also, the cost of reducing emissions needs to be fairly distributed to all industries. If agriculture is excluded, then the carbon emissions allowances for electricity and transport will have to be 30% higher than they need to be. Say that it costs $100 to remove the desired portion of the CO2-e. To meet that cost, the electricity bill and fuel bill must go up $100, since 30% of the emissions (from livestock) are not included, therefore subsidised. If livestock is included, then you can choose not to eat meat, and your electricity and fuel bill only go up by $70.00. The livestock industry have stated they will join emissions trading at some time in the future ("as soon as practicable") but that sort of language can give excuses that "they are not ready yet" for a long time, delaying vital action. On a personal note, it makes me sad that my fuel bill will be subsidising the livestock industry.

To put it into perspective, James Hansen report on how much CO2 states that we should aim for 350ppm (parts per million) of CO2-e. Currently it is 385ppm. Removing the livestock industry would remove 25ppm, which would get us half way to the safe level from todays measurements. Note that the IPCC recommendation is > 400ppm, which is based on 2005-2006 data, and hopefully will be revised.

I hope this helps, sorry it is so long. Sometimes simple questions have not-so-simple answers.

4 comments:

Matt Anderson said...

Please forgive me if I read this wrong...late night.

Global warming or the now newly coined phrase 'Climate Change' has gotten out of hand to the extent that basic farmers, the backbone and livelihood of this country are being criticised by alarmists scrutinising every aspect of life.

Co2 is a friendly gas, is it not the building blocks of life to which plants use as a food source?

The Earth is roughly 4 Billion years old and of that roughly 60-70 years of increased human industrialisation....from this has risen a call to depopulate the Earth from elites behind a vale of Environmentalism which 'claims' too many humans are consuming too many resources.

I am not on the side of the Oil companies and neither from the so called 'Environmentalists'. I am for a free market to decide the necessary technological adjustments to improve the creation / consumption of energy.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Be wary of the WWF, Greenpeace and other bandwagon Environmentalists who wish to impose on you a socialist ideology.

Rixaeton said...

Hi matt,

CO2 is necessary as are many other gases. The problem is the concentration of gases. Venus is an extreme example where the surface temprature is about 400 degrees C, which is due to its very high concentration of CO2. This is only to illustrate that CO2 concentration is important.

I agree very stronly with you about using the free market to solve climate change, or bring about reductions in emissions to a level that will not significantly alter the world we live to our detriment.

When the emissions trading system (ETS) is in place and the proper costs of emissions are accounted, then yes, if we can afford it, we can do whatever we want. The important thing is that the costs are known and mitigated.

I do not intend to demonise farmers, and very much support farmers and even government assistance to change their practices and products to make things better.

BTW: I don't think that people with qualifications or experience are "elites", rather they are people that have spend considerable time and effort to understand the problems and how things work, and to do research and ideas. With deep understanding of the issues, they are quite qualified to give informed opinions, :-)

Matt Anderson said...

I think your confused as to what I mean by 'elites'.

I'm talking about International Bankers peddling their agenda through environmental movements hyping the Global warming / Climate Change issue into a religion where critical views are totally ignored and seen as heretics.

It's quite ironic that Al Gore says "the debate is over" and comparing critics to "flat earthers" and will not even debate critics who have found huge flaws in his Slideshow. He won't even answer journalists questions anymore.....

The debate isn't over, the computer models 'predicting' warming only take into account 100 or so years.

But hang on a second, the Earth is 4 Billion+ years old...mmm you'd assume that there would be a natural cooling / warming cycle that wouldn't be affected by 60+ years of human industrialisation...that it could handle and correct the balance accordingly.

There are people like yourself who mean well and do the right thing. But as hard and kooky as it sounds this is just a push for a Global Carbon Tax for World Government..

The criminals of the communist era foresaw the collapse of their ideology and around 1991 wanted to maintain power and establish a "New world order" and what better way than to turn the impending Ice age of the 1970's into a catastrophic / apocalyptic scenario where man-made global warming is threat and only a socialist lifestyle of personal, economical and political sacrifice can avert it.

The IPCC has admitted that in 1998 temperatures began to cool therefore that's why the shift whent from 'Global Warming' to 'Climate Change' - it can be blamed on either warming or cooling.

I'm not saying to stop conserving, I'm saying beware of the motives of these groups.

WWF was founded by Eugenicist Sir Julian Huxley and Prince Phillip.

Google: Eugenics

Sir Julian Huxley was first director of UNESCO and a founding member of the WWF. Huxley and Max Nicholson and other founders of the Green movement were ardent advocates of eugenics and racial purification. In fact, Huxley was president of the Eugenics Society when he co-founded the WWF.

Meanwhile, the WWF is implementing an agenda to consolidate 200 ecoregions worldwide and is one of the largest contributors to depopulation efforts worldwide. Both of these planks coincide with U.S. state department memos from 1974 penned by Henry Kissinger.

Matt Anderson said...

What’s It Going to Cost?: All “solutions” have a price, but the cost of fighting global warming was something you rarely heard on the network news. Only 22 stories (11 percent) mentioned any cost of “fixing” global warming. On the rare occasion cost came up, it came from the lips of a skeptic like Kentucky state Rep. Jim Gooch (D), who said one climate change bill in Congress “would cost $6 trillion.”

New York Times the Worst: Longtime readers of the Times could easily recall the paper claiming “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable,” along with its strong support of current global warming predictions. Older readers might well recall two other claims of a climate shift back to the 1800s – one an ice age and the other warming again. The Times has warned of four separate climate changes since 1895.