Livestock and Climate Change

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A World Watch magazine report by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang which outlines that livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions!

The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are:

1. Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock.
2. Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2
3. Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world.
4. Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say “This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.”

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